Education Leadership and Professional Learning Subgroup - minutes: April 2023

Minutes from the group's meeting on 13 April 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • Mélina Valdelièvre (chair) (MV), Education Scotland
  • Louise Barrett (LB), Scottish Council of Deans of Education
  • Tara Lillis (TL), NASUWT
  • Audrey Farley (AF), Forth Valley and West Lothian Regional Improvement Collaborative
  • Mark Langdon (ML), Glasgow Life
  • Samir Sharma (SS), Quality Improvement Officer, Glasgow City Council
  • Charlotte Dwyer (CD), ScotDec (Scottish Development Centre)
  • Rhona Jay (RJ), Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES)
  • Carol Young (CY), Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights (CRER)


  • Khadija Mohammed (KM), Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE)
  • Lesley Whelan (LW), Education Scotland
  • Asif Chishti (AC), General Teaching Council (Scotland)
  • Sarah Guy (SG), Early Learning and Childcare, Scottish Government

Items and actions


Mélina Valdelièvre chaired the meeting and welcomed colleagues. Apologies were noted.

Note of last meeting

No change to the note of the last meeting.

Group membership

MV proposed inviting an inspector who has completed the BRL programme to the group and asked members for their thoughts. TL was in support but highlighted concerns around the group membership being too overly slanted to Education Scotland staff. 

ML suggested inviting Jacqueline Churchine from the EIS for a Learning for Sustainability perspective and Oonagh McGarry from a CLD perspective. MV noted that Oonagh McGarry works for Education Scotland and, having completed the BRL programme, is working internally with Education Scotland’s CLD team to advance anti-racism. To avoid having too many Education Scotland members, and considering the ELPL actions, it felt more pertinent to have an HMI on the subgroup. 

After discussion members agreed to the inspector joining the group. 

Building Racial Literacy programme options for 2023-2024

MV then went on to discuss the paper regarding BRL Programme Options for 2023-2024. MV highlighted that a new BRL cohort won’t be able to run until the new lead specialist has been recruited and settled in, currently the position looks likely to be filled by August 2023. It is recommended this year that only one cohort runs and that this cohort starts in November 2023, potentially ending in February or March 2024, this is to allow procurement and the school holidays in October. MV highlighted that the maximum for the BRL programme in its current delivery model would be 150 participants for this cohort. As there are 140 email addresses on the waiting list, MV asked members to discuss which criteria and target audiences they would like to see to help select the 150 participants for Cohort 4.

TL thought priority should be given to Headteachers, in particular secondary headteachers, this would allow the programme to tap into system leadership. TL also highlighted Initial Teacher Education as another area to focus on.

AF requested if there was a breakdown of groups on the waiting list, MV confirmed this waiting list is just emails so doesn’t have details of people’s job roles. AF noted that middle leaders should be prioritised as this group has pushed forward change in the RICs.

CD highlighted that prioritisation would be important and it would be useful to prioritise groups that could work together to stop isolation. LB also had similar concerns regarding isolation and suggested the programme could have more impact if it’s linked to networks. LB highlighted the ITE network as an example of network that could be used. 

ML noted that the CLD Guidance for 2024/2027 will start being drafted towards the end of this year and this could be an opportunity to include the anti-racist in education programme in this. 

CY thought those not involved in delivery could offer recommendations, but the judgement of those involved in delivery should ultimately be trusted. CY suggested asking LAs to put someone forward, as this could result in a mix of different people. CY also noted not picking from the waiting list could lead to a reputational damage risk. MV clarified it’s not a waiting list for a guaranteed place on the programme but a waiting list of people who will be informed when applications are opened. The form can be found here.

SS agreed that middle and senior leaders should be targeted. SS also highlighted the issue of capacity building, it was noted it could be a good idea for previous BRL alumni to meet and previous participants could be asked for their opinion on who best to target. MV agreed that supporting past participants to deliver anti-racist training could help with building capacity.

TL highlighted that there will be an upcoming shift in the education policy landscape and it might be useful to see the lay of the land first before prioritising groups.

Discussion then moved onto alternative delivery models for BRL. MV highlighted the organisational approach model to delivering BRL to an Education Scotland / SG Learning Directorate cohort. Using past BRL recordings and existing expertise, this model has informally been piloted in the Professional Learning and Leadership (PLL) team over two days within two months which was well received. 

MV also noted an in-person approach, that this could work particularly well for secondary headteachers which the BRL programme has not reached yet. Currently, the PLL team runs residential sessions for headteachers for Excellence in Headship and Excellence in Headship Stretch and there may be opportunities to try out a one- or two-day BRL residential for headteachers.

CD highlighted that the BRL programme is a big commitment, an alternative approach would be the develop a light touch course that could reach a bigger number of participants. 

TL thought a broader approach was needed, to look at what is already on offer and see if BRL could be delivered through these alternative pathways. RJ noted that ES should make BRL a core part of the curriculum design and the Curriculum Innovation team should be receiving this training. MV noted that two members of the Curriculum Innovation team have completed BRL and one of them is using the learning for a project on co-designing a Curriculum for Social Justice, Rights and Equalities.

The discussion then moved onto the possibility of procuring an external evaluation provider to evaluate BRL. There was discussion on the pros and cons of evaluating the programme. Members agreed to the procurement of an external evaluation provider, although the communication around this would need to be sensitively handled (being clear it is an external evaluation and not self-congratulatory). An external evaluation would help make a stronger case for BRL to be made more widely accessible in the future.

AF noted that a regional approach could be a way to take forward the BRL delivery, MV and AF to catch up regarding this.

Any other business and next steps

There was no AOB. Members were asked to review the ELPL action grid comments and share by correspondence any further suggestions. These will likely be reviewed again at the next meeting.

Back to top