Gender Equality Taskforce in Education and Learning: Theory of Change report

This report contains the Theory of Change model and its accompanying narrative. The Theory of Change will help the delivery of the Taskforce’s agreed ambition: to end systemic gender inequality in education and learning.

Medium term recommendations

Empowering leaders in the education system to lead the end of systemic gender inequality in education and learning, including leadership and strategic direction set by Ministers.

Recommendation B1: Form working groups within the Taskforce to take forward the activities for each goal, including a mapping exercise to ensure policies and frameworks developed, reflect intersectional and gender competency principles.

The Taskforce should form working groups around each of the strategic goals. We recommend the working groups map out policies and guiding frameworks which already exist to support education in Scotland, against the activities within each of the strategic goals, and identify any current gaps. These existing policies will be centred on education, and the objective for the Taskforce is to embed intersectionality within those policies, rather than rely on the equalities framework that may currently sit to the side.

Recommendation B2: Taskforce members will work with organisations including the Scottish Government, Education Scotland, The General Teaching Council for Scotland, Local Authorities and schools to facilitate the development of leadership programmes to upskill and resource educational leaders to tackle gender inequality in education and learning.

Schools have hierarchy and systems. The biggest return on investment is to invest in intersectional leadership within each education body. This includes leadership in the Scottish Government, Education Scotland, local authorities, GTC, and schools. By making this a priority amongst heads and deputy heads, it increases the chances that system change will occur. We know from race equality work in Glasgow that when schools are supported with the right resources to put this into practice, then change can be led from the top. However, we are also aware of the lack of diversity in educational leadership, which adds an additional challenge to this work due to lack of diverse perspectives and lived experiences.

Headteachers were named as school staff who could effect the most change in the school environment. "Teachers - they just speak it might not change. It needs to be actions" Primary girl

"I'm going to underline the government because I think that's really important because they have a big voice" Primary Girl

Research into changing attitudes and behaviours from the collective, tells us that increasing knowledge and delivering one off training courses by themselves do not change individuals or organisations' behaviour. (Zero Tolerance/the collective, 2021; We need this to do things differently).

Instead, one of the crucial elements is developing relationships with those working to the same goal. We recommend that this leadership programme takes place over a period of time, supports peer-to-peer learning and support groups, and is informed by the experiences of children and young people. Other areas that could be explored include promoting and mainstreaming gender competence in initial teacher education.

The working groups should seek to build on the calls for action developed by the Children's Parliament and the Scottish Youth Parliament and have access to organisations and/or groups working with girls and young women in schools to get their feedback and experiences within each goal. These activities should be developed in line with existing research on what works in changing attitudes and behaviours. The participation loop should be closed, informing children and young people who have been involved in developing actions whether activities are taken forward, what the time frame is, and why these decisions have been taken.

Recommendation B3: Taskforce members develop a gender competency framework for education and learning that incorporates intersectionality and anti-racism competencies.

Central to this work of ending systemic gender inequality is for the Taskforce to develop a gender competency framework which can be applied to each level of educational apparatus, which is all levels of leadership from Scottish Government Ministers to individuals working in schools and support services. Subsequent frameworks should also be created for professional teaching standards and school estate planning. It should utilise a definition of gender competency that is agreed by the Taskforce (see Recommendation A1).

Recommendation B4: Scottish Government Analytical Services to develop and resource intersectional data collection and analysis mechanisms to provide baselines for all activities within each goal.

Clear, comprehensive and segmented data is critical to accurately understanding the nature of the systemic injustices that exist within the educational system. Ongoing data collection is also critical to a Theory of Change approach - particularly to reviewing whether activities are having the expected impact and contributing to the overall changes as anticipated, and to determine whether progress is being made. Sets of data will need to be agreed for monitoring each of the headline activities and any other activities that follow. This should include baselines.

Recommendation B5: Develop Monitoring and evaluation frameworks which provide iterative feedback loops and testing assumptions threaded throughout all work.

On the basis of these data plans, there should also be in place monitoring and evaluation frameworks. As delivery activities are implemented, there should be assumptions established for how these are expected to affect change. On a regular basis activities should be reviewed in a data-driven way to ensure that they are impacting change as anticipated. These are referred to as 'iterative feedback loops' in the Theory of Change model.



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