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.

Long term recommendations

Embedding change to achieve the end of systemic gender inequality in education and learning

We have outlined recommendations for each of the eight headline activities to support the strategic goals and outcomes. These recommendations are long term but with the caveat that these may change as a result of either the mapping and auditing that the working groups may do in line with Recommendation B1 or if new opportunities are identified at a later time (i.e. that couldn't be identified at the time of writing this report/at the time of the workshops)

Recommendation C1: Work with relevant bodies to support them in the development of resources which contribute to a gender competent/gender equal curriculum

When developing curriculum review it will be good practice to incorporate the calls of girls and young people for advance reform of Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood and Personal and Social Education, perhaps with a mandatory class on gender studies, and the desire to have more role models in all subjects, as highlighted in Gender Equality in Education Children's Parliament and Scottish Youth Parliament report. Current dialogue around education reform, specifically the Muir report could act as a driver for these changes.

"It should be the norm to not say the gender before they say what they're doing. Yes they're women but when you're talking about a famous male scientist you wouldn't say 'this male scientist' but when you're talking about a woman you say 'this female scientist'" p.17

Recommendation C2: Work with Education Scotland to support inspections focusing on high level outcomes

At the time of writing the report, Education Scotland was reviewing its school inspections frameworks, and it was identified that this could be an opportunity to insert some intersectional targets. However, these targets should be informed by a gender competency framework - once the Taskforce has agreed this, the Taskforce may choose to support Education Scotland to incorporate those targets into their school inspections.

Recommendation C3: Develop and support accountability systems and support-including targets and gender budgeting

The purpose of this is to ensure that the whole education system is working towards gender equality, including resources. This will provide accountability around how financial resources are benefiting girls and boys equally. The education reforms within the Muir report are at the time of writing due to be scoped out. This could provide the Taskforce with the opportunity to ensure this recommendation takes place within this work.

Recommendation C4: Taskforce members will work with the new Gender Based Violence in Schools working group to facilitate the development and delivery of survivor centred and trauma informed policies and procedures.

We recommend that Taskforce members work with groups investigating sexual harassment, sexist and sexualised bullying and problematic sexual behaviour in schools, in order to inform these policies and procedures that put survivor experience at the centre. This would also include supporting schools to have a deeper understanding of how to respond to boys who are using harmful sexual behaviour from a trauma informed and children's rights perspective, reflecting on the role of police within school grounds and the consistency of responses across and within local authority areas. This work would also include support to those reviewing disclosures and evidence, as a way to minimise vicarious trauma and/or burnout.

Recommendation C5: Taskforce members will work with the new Gender Based Violence in Schools working group to facilitate the development and delivery of meaningful survivor centred support and knowledge.

Separately, but co-existing with C4, is the need for school staff to develop and sustain meaningful support for survivors. This should involve developing a shared understanding across the school education and learning infrastructure of appropriate methods of support built around the needs of victim/survivors. This should also involve upskilling staff and supporting closer relationships with existing support services, such as local rape crisis centres and gender competent youth work groups.

"I think the guidance department needs to improve as well. Add more ways to report some things anonymously. Because when you report something, you get sat in a restorative meeting with that person… Sometimes you don't really want to be put alone in a room with that person." S1/S2 girl.

Recommendation C6: Taskforce members work with representatives of CYP's groups to support the meaningful participation of children and young people in the taskforce to better inform its ambitions.

As with all our recommendations, the voices and experiences of children and young people should be threaded throughout, see recommendations A5 for further explanation.

Participation must be meaningful, safe, impactful, informed and supported by key organisations working directly with all children and young people, to ensure diversity of representation and views. Resources produced by Children in Scotland and the Children and Young People's Commissioner Scotland should be used to clearly define meaningful participation. Here, it is also important to explore what participation looks like for different groups of children and young people across gender, class, ability, race and sexuality; whose voices are heard? Who is confident in the knowledge they will be listened to? What spaces and places are being used to gather wisdom from children and young people?

Recommendation C7: Work with providers of professional learning to support impactful learning and development with all school staff by developing robust structures and mechanisms to ensure its success

There are a wide range of measures that need to be explored for professional learning and development including teacher training and CPD courses. We recommend that any professional learning and development follow directly from the adoption of the gender competency framework, and be an ongoing requirement for all teachers and support staff. The report produced by the Children's Parliament and Scottish Youth Parliament has a number of actions related to content for professional development, which should inform any professional development programme. Similarly, previous work by the collective on what works in changing attitudes towards gender equality should be drawn on to ensure any learning and development offered is impactful rather than tokenistic.

Recommendation C8: Taskforce members work with stakeholders to support the development of gender competent school estate planning.

This recommendation aims to address the specific challenge that many girls and young women raised in the Children's Parliament and Scottish Youth Parliament report around being bullied in the playground, as well as being unable to participate in playground activities due to the design of the space, and how boys were enabled to control shared spaces with their play.

"I would love to play basketball and football everyday, but the boys won't let us and give us our turn in the areas of the playground"



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