In November 2018 the Diversity in the Teaching Profession Working Group, chaired by Professor Rowena Arshad CBE, published its 'Teaching in a Diverse Scotland' report. The report was commissioned by the Strategic Board for Teacher Education (SBTE) following the publication of the National Race Equality Framework for Scotland.
The aim of the group's work was to increase the number of teachers from under-represented backgrounds at all levels in Scottish schools. Subsequently, the working group was reconvened and expanded, again with Professor Arshad as chair. It met regularly from June 2019 to March 2021 to support the implementation of the recommendations made in the report.
At the time of the original report's publication, 1.4% of the teaching workforce came from a minority ethnic background. The Scottish Government accepted Professor Arshad's recommendations, which included the ambitious aim that by 2030, the number of minority ethnic teachers in Scotland's schools should be at least 4%, which is on a par with the Scottish minority ethnic population in the 2011 census (Table 5.8), which was the most up to date census information available at the time the report was published. Detail regarding Scottish Government's ongoing actions to meet this target can be found under the 'Next Steps' section of this report.
At the conclusion of the Diversity in the Teaching Profession working group in March 2021, Professor Arshad published a further report setting out the progress achieved to date and the actions still to be progressed. In that report, Professor Arshad stressed the importance of gathering and sharing data on the diversity of the teaching profession in order to inform and evaluate future work. As a result, the first Teaching Profession Diversity Data Report was published in March 2021.
The annual publication of the report is now the responsibility of the new Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce (DITPEW) sub-group, which forms part of the Scottish Government's new Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme (REAREP). The sub-group is also taking forward a number of the other recommendations made in Professor Arshad's report, which will address the chronic and disproportionate lack of minority ethnic teachers in Scotland's schools.
The Scottish Government recognises the importance of increasing the diversity of the Scottish education workforce, including teachers. This is for a range of reasons, including but not limited to:
- Increased diversity ensures that children and young people have role models that are representative of their lived experience.
- It increases engagement from children and young people as they can identify better with teachers who share their cultural, religious or linguistic traditions
- It increases variety of perspectives within the education system; more perspectives leads to a better understanding of society itself and how to meet the needs of all involved
- It helps to break down stereotypes and negative misconceptions about differing minority groups
- It increases diversity of language and thought that benefit the knowledge and experience of colleagues, children and young people and families
- It breaks down barriers and ultimately creates cohesion among different ethnic groups, hopefully creating a more tolerant and fair society, free of racism.
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