Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme - Stakeholder Network Group minutes April 2021: paper - diversity in the teaching profession

Paper for meeting of working group on 29 April 2021.

Context and background 

The  Race Equality Framework for Scotland 2016-30 (REF) in Scotland sets out the Scottish Government’s strategic approach to promoting race equality and tackling racism and inequality.  

The REF ambition for Education and Lifelong Learning is to make Scotland the best place to grow up and to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to learn in an inclusive environment which supports race equality.   One of the  contributing goals is:  [that] “Scotland's education workforce better reflects the diversity of its communities”.  In order to achieve it, the REF committed to the following action:  

“Work with the newly established Strategic Board for Scottish [Teacher] Education, which includes representatives of the Scottish Government, the Early Learning and Childcare Quality and Workforce Group, the teacher education universities, the teacher unions, local authorities and other education stakeholders, to consider how to address equality and diversity issues in the Scottish education workforce – in particular the gender balance and the ethnic diversity of the workforce.”

In response to this action, the Diversity in the Teaching Profession Working Group was convened by the Strategic Board for Teacher Education (SBTE) and a report commissioned.   Professor Rowena Arshad CBE, the former Head of Moray House School of Education and Co-Director of the Centre for Education for Racial Equality in Scotland was invited to chair the working group and write the report

Professor Arshad’s report Teaching in a Diverse Scotland - increasing and retaining minority ethnic teachers, was subsequently published in November 2018 and contained 17 recommendations.  

Following the publication of the report, the SBTE reconvened the Diversity in the Teaching Profession Working Group with an expanded membership. The group were tasked with driving forward and monitoring the report’s 17 recommendations by embedding them as appropriate into frameworks that facilitated Scottish Education.  Professor Arshad remained as chair of the working group.   

The working group met 7 times and held their final meeting in February this year.  To conclude their work together as a group, they published a final report Teaching in a Diverse Scotland - increasing and retaining minority ethnic teachers: 3 years on, which shares the progress since the initial report and the challenges that remain.  

Annex B contains a summary of the progress that has been made to date against the key themes and recommendations of the initial report.  


At the time of the initial report's publication, minority ethnic teachers were significantly underrepresented in Scotland's schools, with only 1.4% of the teaching workforce identifying as coming from a minority ethnic background.   In 2020, this increased slightly to 1.7%, where 1.3% of the teaching workforce in primary schools and 2.1% in secondary schools identified as being from a minority ethnic background. This compares with a minority ethnic population of 4% [National Records of Scotland, Scotland Census 2011. In 2011 Census, 84% of Scotland's population reported their ethnicity as White - Scottish and a further 8% as White - Other British. Minority ethnic groups accounted for 4% of the population. The 4% population figure does not include White - Irish, White - Polish, White - Gypsy/Traveller and White - Other white.] in Scotland[The target figure may need to be adjusted once the Census 2022 details are published about numbers of Black and minority ethnic people in Scotland]. Minority ethnic teachers are also underrepresented in promoted posts - less than 1% of teachers who were employed in promoted posts were from an ethnic minority background in 2020.

To achieve the target of at least 4% of minority ethnic teachers in Scotland's schools by 2030, as set out in the original report, would mean recruiting approximately an additional 200 minority ethnic teachers into the workforce every year from August 2022 to August 2030 inclusive. These teachers would be in addition to the number of minority ethnic teachers currently being recruited annually [This only considers teachers recruitment, the increase required for minority ethnic ITE intake numbers to obtain this target is likely to be higher].


 Whilst much has been achieved by the Diversity in the Teaching Profession working group to create the conditions for structural change, there is clearly much more to do in order to realise the collective ambition of a teaching workforce which reflects Scotland's diversity.  In terms of numbers, small improvements have been seen in recent years, however the 2022 population census will likely mean that the target set in the original report of 4% will need to be revised.   

Key recommendations of the Working Group

Whilst highlighting progress, the Diversity in the Teaching Profession Working Group’s final report also highlighted barriers and suggested key areas of focus to help maintain momentum:  

  • efforts to improve diversity in the teaching profession must strongly focus on getting it right for those Black and minority ethnic teachers already in the profession, who continue to experience significant barriers, inequality and racism
  • professional learning offers, developed to enhance the diversity of the teaching profession should support participants to develop as anti-racist educators and leaders with clearly agreed outcomes leading to tangible change
  • all institutions involved in the career of a teacher, from Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers to schools and local authorities, should review and address the barriers in place to supporting Black and minority ethnic teachers to progress into and through teaching. Any such review needs to involve Black and minority ethnic students (current and former), Black and minority ethnic staff, teachers and those with proven expertise on taking forward anti-racism in education
  • a national offer of support with a focus on sponsorship should be developed and implemented to support Black and minority ethnic teachers at each stage of their career to progress whilst the structural barriers remain in place
  • a new national post is created to take this work forward and that it should be placed within an organisation such as the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS)
  • a new annual publication of data relating to the ethnicity of teachers in Scotland is developed to initially focus on ethnicity captured through the teacher census and Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data on ITE entrants and qualifiers, but to be expanded over time to encompass data from all aspects of teaching in Scotland. A copy of this new annual publication can be found here - Teaching profession - diversity: annual data report - March 2021 

Next steps 

The next steps as recommended in the final report of the Diversity in the Teaching Profession Working Group are to:

  • formulate an action plan to take forward the diversifying of the teaching profession, that aligns with the other workstreams of the Race Equality and Anti Racism in Education Programme 
  • consider creating a subgroup to evaluate the progress towards the key actions from the final report
  • publish a report in 18 months to show how the recommendations have been acted upon

Breakout groups - discussion points for the Stakeholder Network Group 

Annex A contains a list of proposed actions for the Stakeholder Network Group to consider during the breakout session.  The actions consist of: 

  • suggestions from the proposals paper circulated ahead of the first meeting of the SNG (purple text) and
  • actions drawn from the conclusions in Professor Arshad’s final report (black text)

The recommendations set out in both of Professor Arshad’s reports, provide a robust framework on which to build the ambitions of this particular workstream.  The Stakeholder Network Group’s proposals paper circulated previously, contains a number of suggestions which, in some cases overlap with the DITP reports.  This is positive, demonstrating cohesive thinking early on, and makes the task of aligning the suggestions in the proposals paper with the DITP conclusions, in order to agree a concise set of actions, more straightforward.  

During the breakout sessions, members are asked to consider the actions in Annex A in terms of the following:  

  • agreeing the overarching aim of this workstream 
  • streamlining the set of proposals/actions in the table at Annex A eliminating overlap with the conclusions from the DITP report where it occurs

In breakout groups, which will be facilitated by SNG members who were also on the Diversity in the Teaching Profession working group, it would be helpful to consider the following questions:  

Question 1 - Agree a vision for the workstream. Does the vision as set out in the Race Equality Framework - Scotland's education workforce better reflects the diversity of its communities – capture the ambitions of this worksteam?  If not, what is missing from it?

Question 2 - Agree a set of actions.  Looking at both sets of actions/proposals in Annex A, it’s clear that there is some overlap between the 2 groups.  Where this occurs, breakout groups should endeavour to eliminate overlap or duplication, in order that a streamlined set can be achieved.  

Siân Balfour
Diversity in the Teaching Profession Workstream Lead
April 2021
Annex A - (Proposed) action plan - workstream: diversity in the teaching profession (June 2021 - May 2022)


  • consider and agree funding options and then jointly develop a job description for the recruitment of a new national “Diversity in the Teaching Profession” post
  • produce a new annual publication of data relating to the ethnicity of teachers in Scotland initially focusing on publishing, which can be circulated widely through network and tabled annually for discussion with SCDE, SBTE and Local Authorities
  • raise awareness and create a deeper understanding by individuals on the importance of declaring and sharing data on ethnicity, to reduce the number of “not declared” to help improve robustness of data
  • display the SDS resources in every school and utilise at career events from upper primary onwards to begin to enable Black and minority ethnic pupils to view education as a potential career pathway
  • develop a programme of direct engagement with minority ethnic students and local communities, to help attract more students from minority ethnic backgrounds in to the teaching profession
  • SCDE to oversee the development of a National Framework for Diversity in ITE providers that will  cover the entire process from marketing, admissions, content and processes of curriculum to student support and will  explicitly address race equality and anti-racism
  • each ITE institution to draw up an action plan for embedding race equality to assist diversify the teaching profession
  • develop a national offer of support with a focus on sponsorship should be developed and implemented to support Black and minority ethnic teachers at each stage of their career to progress whilst the structural barriers remain in place
  • all institutions involved in the career of a teacher, from ITE providers to schools and local authorities, should review and address the barriers in place to supporting Black and minority ethnic teachers to progress into and through teaching
  • continue to embed anti-racist practices within leadership and professional learning provision supporting teachers at all levels to understand racism in schools
  • develop and gather examples of best practice on recruitment and retention practices and support for minority ethnic probationers and teachers that can be shared across the system
  • work with equality leads in LAs to gain buy in and engender organisation-wide pro-activeness in embedding established best practice in order to address under-representation


Annex B  - Summary of progress since the publication of the initial Diversity in the Teaching Profession Report 

Key themes from initial Diversity in the Teaching Profession report and progress so far

Closing the Awareness Gap - Improving levels of racial literacy within the sector

The refreshed and restructured sets of General Teaching Council of Scotland (GTC Scotland) Professional Standards now lead with a section called 'Being a teacher in Scotland' which places the professional values of social justice as being at the heart of what it means to be a teacher. The Standards also heighten and highlight more clearly the expectations of teachers in the context of embracing equality and diversity.

The GTC Scotland has developed an Equality and Diversity Hub  Equality and Diversity Hub | General Teaching Council for Scotland and two new Equality and Diversity Professional Learning Modules. The Hub has a specific section on race which includes links to articles which engages teachers with concepts like anti-racism, privilege and institutional racism. There are also references to organisations who can assist linkages with Black and minority ethnic communities.

On the Equality and Diversity Hub, GTC Scotland has created a Professional Guide Equality and Diversity: A Guide for Teachers to provide support for them to reflect on their understanding of equality and diversity and how it relates to their professional lives and actions.

The GTC Scotland has committed to ensure that in the next iteration of the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) accreditation documentation a question will be asked of how ITE providers are enabling students to acknowledge and consider how their positionality and identity shapes their thinking and practice to ensure that this is addressed in all ITE future programmes

Education Scotland has worked with Black and minority ethnic teachers and anti-racist experts to ensure that their programmes such as the Teacher Leadership Programme, Excellence in Headship (EiH), Into Headship (which awards the Standard for Headship, which is now mandatory for all newly appointed permanent headteachers in local authority and grant aided schools) now include sessions on anti-racism. Education Scotland has communicated the refresh of their leadership programmes and online resources to local authorities via the professional learning networks.

A standards guide for what should be included when procuring race equality and anti-racist training has been developed by Coalition of Race Equality and Rights (CRER) for those procuring trainers for race equality. This is due to be published in March 2021.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) have offered bespoke anti-racism professional learning sessions through their newly established EIS Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network and sessions for Equality Reps, School Reps, Local Authority Secretaries, depute headteachers and headteachers, in addition to written guidance for Reps on Mobilising for Anti-Racism at Work. The resources and materials used in these sessions are available from the EIS website - Anti-racist Leadership Learning – Equality: Anti-Racism

NASUWT have recently reviewed and updated their professional learning offer for members and representatives to include more equalities training. NASUWT have also lobbied for more racial literacy amongst various education working groups. For instance, by encouraging culturally-responsive and race-informed services when stakeholders offer mental wellbeing support for pupils and teachers. 

Attractiveness of ITE to students from Black and minority ethnic background and harnessing the power of partnership to encourage Black and minority ethnic people to consider a career in Education

Working with Skills Development Scotland, job profiles showing the journey of workers in the education sector have been developed. These profiles have drawn on Black and minority ethnic people to create visibility but also to provide a clear message that working in schools is a rewarding career option. 

As an example of supporting more people from a minority ethnic background into the education workforce, Glasgow City Council, utilising positive action measures set out in the Equality Act 2010, provided guaranteed interviews to Black and minority ethnic staff applying for Support for Learning Worker posts meeting the minimum job requirements. Support was also provided during the application process, including interview technique. This resulted in over 45 Black and minority ethnic women becoming employed in schools and nurseries across the city. In addition, some of the applicants were supported to gain further qualifications to enable them to become early years practitioners. 

GTC Scotland has worked in partnership with Black and minority ethnic teachers from across Scotland, and the Scottish Government to create case studies to encourage people from those backgrounds into the profession. These will be made available on the refreshed Teach in Scotland website.

Improving levels of data    

Through the work of the group, data has been gathered from HESA on entrants to, and qualifiers from, ITE programmes in Scotland as well as data on the ethnicity of teachers in Scottish local authorities from the Teacher Census. As a result, a Scottish Government Learning Directorate Short Term Data working group was established to consider and agree an annual process of collecting this data on diversity in the teaching profession in Scotland in order to be able to inform future work as well as to measure and evaluate success. As a result, a new annual report, which draws together HESA and Teacher Census data, has been published and will be shared with the Strategic Board for Teacher Education, SCDE and other key groups, to inform on progress - Teaching profession - diversity: annual data report - March 2021.

The monitoring of the diversity of the teaching workforce and progress towards the 4% target is now embedded into the work of the Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group. This will ensure the diversity target is discussed each year as part of the workforce planning process.

Student placement experiences and support for students  

The GTC Scotland has inserted a specific section on equality and diversity to be included within the Probationer Handbooks. The insert specifically provides information to probationer teachers about their obligations to promote equality and diversity, what to do if they witness or experience discrimination, how to report and receive support.

The Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE)'s Leadership and Mentoring Programme has been endorsed by Education Scotland. This programme is now offered to Black and minority ethnic probationers, newly qualified and established teachers across Scotland.

GTC Scotland Probationer Managers' Network has been supported by colleagues from SAMEE, GTC Scotland Council, GTC Scotland Early Careers team and Stepping Stones to raise awareness of the challenges encountered by Black and minority ethnic teachers, and to inform Probation Managers on how best to support newly qualified Black and minority ethnic teachers. Currently, this support is ongoing, within the wider remit of Covid–19 support.

Future supports will be identified, alongside work being planned through Stepping Stones for those Black and minority ethnic teachers post probation.

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