Diversity in the teaching profession minutes: January 2018

Short term working group on diversity in the teaching profession.

Attendees and apologies

  • Professor Rowena Arshad, University of Edinburgh (Chair)
  • Ken Muir, General Teaching Council (Scotland)
  • Khadija Mohammed, Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE)
  • Hakim Din, Calabar Education Consultants, former HMIE
  • Maureen McKenna, Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES)
  • Dr Morag Redford, Scottish Council of Deans of Education
  • Reed Sweir, Fulbright scholar, with University of Edinburgh
  • David Roy, Scottish Government
  • Daniel Waddell, Scottish Government (SG, Secretariat)


  • Eloise Nutbrown, Migration Population and Diversity (COSLA)

Items and actions

Rowena Arshad welcomed members to the second meeting of the Diversity in the Teaching Profession working group. She introduced Reed Sweir to the group who was attending as her guest. She also thanked Glasgow City Council for the use of their facilities.

Agree minutes of previous meeting and review actions

Minutes from the previous meeting were read and approved as accurate.

Information gathering exercise – Diversity across the profession

The members were disappointed by the lack of responses but understand that this may be due to the timing of the request going out. A second request for information was sent in January. It was agreed that a further follow up letter should be sent to stakeholders who have not responded, with a ‘no response’ deemed suitable from stakeholders.

Action 1 – Kelly Ireland to issue a final reminder to stakeholder who have not yet responded.

The members discussed the responses and made the following comments:

  • The sector’s on-going recruitment issues was provided by several respondents as their priority focus and the issue of the lack of BME teachers in schools was not an issue they were either focussing on
  • Lack of a sense of ownership of the issue by stakeholders.
  • Some stakeholders feel that a one size fits all approach is a suitable solution.

The members asked for clarification from Strathclyde University’s response regarding the creation of a BME group.

Action 2 – Secretariat to speak to Strathclyde University for clarification on this group.

Ken Muir informed the group that GTCS are currently undergoing work on identifying the reasons BME teachers leave the profession however it has been difficult to identify these people.

Rowena Arshad also updated the group on her use of Twitter to gather the sector’s thoughts. A summary of gathered views can be viewed at Annex A.

TES Article – update

Rowena Arshad informed the group that TESS will run the article later next month and are keen to publish a follow up once the report has been completed.

Next steps

The group discussed the need to meet a number of organisations interested in this area of work. It was agreed that only two or three) members will be required for each meeting. . The agenda for these meetings will focus on pulling materials from stakeholder meetings together and another on the formation of the report.

The group agreed that due to the lack of time, it would be more suitable to identify who should be spoken to individually and which stakeholders should be grouped together for the arranged meetings. The meetings will be arranged by the Scottish Government and will be primarily based in Glasgow .It was agreed that the groups should be the following; teachers, unions and lastly Local Authorities. The group listings, meeting location and group representative(s) can be found in annex B.

The group discussed and agreed that all the meetings should have a set of key questions and narrative so that each meeting has a consistent approach and allows the conversation to focus on BME issues. It was agreed that the key questions should be aligned to the key objectives of the group. It was agreed a draft of this to be sent to members before finalising the document.

Action 3 – Kelly Ireland to set up meeting with groups and create proforma in advance of the meetings.

The group requested that the Scottish Government provide information, if available, on how many BME teachers are currently in each Local Authority.

Action 4 – SG to provide the statistics for BME teachers in each Local Authority.

Ken Muir informed the group about an invitation GTCS had received from an ES/BEMIS working group on Curriculum Resources Review Group. The group agreed that with a better understanding of the membership of this working group, it could be possible to liaise with them in the future.

Action 5 – David Roy to contact Nick Morgan (Education Scotland) to find out more about the BEMIS working group.

Agree date and time of meetings

The group agreed to meet again on Monday 26 March 1300 in Glasgow City Chambers.

Summary of actions

  1. Kelly Ireland to chase up those who have not responded.
  2. Secretariat to speak to Strathclyde University for clarification on this group.
  3. Kelly Ireland to set up meeting with groups and create proforma in advance of the meetings.
  4. David Roy to provide the statistics for BME teachers in each Local Authority.
  5. David Roy to contact Nick Morgan (Education Scotland) to find out more about the BEMIS working group.

Annex A

Twitter comments

  • BME teachers want us to tackle promotional issues
  • more to be done to assure people to self-identify – particularly from minorities groups
  • promotion panels need to remove the ‘old pals’ and ‘face fits’ approach
  • over procedural and top down system – needs ripping up a bit
  • more power to HTs to employ flexibly but need to have transparency – union resistance?
  • scrap compulsory GTCS registration – imagine real programmers teaching programming! Real artists teaching art!
  • provide bursaries
  • provide taster events e.g. on a Saturday for STEM people – those who wish to change career
  • start new entrants with a postgraduate qualification higher on the pay scale – may be an attraction too for those with families and mortgages to pay – speed up the journey re pay from probationer to the top of the scale for those who already have industry and leadership experience
  • provide large additional loan (golden hand-cuffs) for older entrants to PGDE (30+) which is written of in chunks with each year workers to make career switching viable – most PGDE students get a living cost package of £7625 (max) most of which has to be repaid: v likely to be a barrier
  • job needs to be more attractive – listen to the concerns of existing teachers and reviewing pay and career progression routes
  • diversify sites of practice
  • speak to BME people about why they are not applying and what it is that would make it attractive for them to apply
  • can FE lecturers not teach in schools- assuming there are some BME staff in FE
  • identify the barriers and remove them
  • go into schools and colleges and promote teaching as a realistic option, use BME people as role models
  • reflect diversity in all promotional materials
  • NUS did some ground breaking change re BME diversity and student unions – learn from them? Key lesson they found was that of ‘isolation’ – being the only BME person
  • workplace cultures in schools have to promote a genuine ethos that welcomes all
  • give people an opportunity to sample teaching through professional engagement
  • more learning on the job opportunities, lots of staff within colleges and universities with teaching experience
  • American NFL – for every top level job there has to be a POC as one of the final candidates

Annex B

Meeting schedule

Stakeholders Group representative(s) Location Date
EIS BME group, STUC, SAMEE, Strathclyde BME group (pending) Rowena Arshad, Maureen McKenna and David Roy Glasgow+Aberdeen Tbc
Northern rural Local Authorities Morag Redford TBC Tbc
Unions and Regional Equality Council Rowena Arshad, Ken Muir, Hakim Din Edinburgh Tbc
Aberdeen City Council Ken Muir Aberdeen Tbc
East Renfrewshire Council Hakim Din East Renfrewshire Tbc
Edinburgh City Council Khadija Mohammed Edinburgh Tbc
Directors of Under Graduate Programmes Ken Muir, Hakim Din and Maureen McKenna tbc Tbc
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