Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme - Stakeholder Network Group minutes April 2021: paper - breakout groups summary

Diversity in the teaching profession breakout groups summary paper for meeting of working group on 29 April 2021.

Meeting 3 – agenda item 4 –  29 April 2021 - Diversity in the teaching profession 

Summary of discussion in breakout rooms and initial conclusions

The Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme Stakeholder Network Group (SNG) met for the third time on 29 April 2021.   Agenda item 4 was to consider Diversity in the Teaching Profession, one of the 4 interlinked themes which the SNG is considering between March and June 2021.  

Agenda item 4 saw Siân Balfour, talk to the paper on Diversity in the Teaching Profession,  which was circulated in advance of the meeting.  A short discussion followed and then members were divided in to breakout groups to work through 2 questions, focused on:    

  • agreeing the overarching aim of the workstream 
  • streamlining the set of proposals/actions in the table at Annex A in paper 03/04, eliminating overlap with the conclusions from the DITP report where it occurs

SNG members were split in to 4 break out groups, consisting of between 5 and 7 people (configuration of groups included at page 9 of this Annex).  The groups were facilitated by members of the Diversity in the Teaching Profession Working Group.  The breakout sessions lasted 45 minutes, after which, the main meeting reconvened, with facilitators reporting the key discussion points to the Chair.

A range of views and opinions were shared and the overarching points which emerged across all 4 groups are summarised below:

Breakout session questions

Question 1

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?

Comments/suggestions as follows - 

  • a statement that clearly spells out the benefit of a diverse teaching workforce for all young people in schools regardless of the ethnic composition of the local communities (there is a strong feeling that the current wording allows quite a few geographical communities with low ethnic diversity to opt out)
  • it will contribute to provide Black and minority ethnic role models for all pupils
  • a clear statement in the vision that says that supporting a diverse teaching workforce will include addressing any institutional and structural barriers e.g. structural racism
  • needs to include more specific language rather than ‘better reflect’ – this feels like a bare minimum, lacking ambition.  Can it be framed in a more positive forward looking way?
  • ‘…. represents the diversity of its communities at all levels’  - although there is recognition that the use of the word community can result in tension
  • what communities are we talking about? – BME is not a defined community – it’s a label, we need to be more specific …who are the “communities we serve”
  • it should include reference to retention and progression – it’s not just about getting people into the profession, it’s also about ensuring they feel able to stay
  • more support embedded in the vision so that it’s not just about numbers i.e. we can’t improve numbers without improving ethos and culture. Need whole system approach i.e. everyone involved in education
  • extend to ensure that all young people have role models. Having a diverse workforce  is beneficial for all learners and the existing workforce – make it an attractive workforce for young people. Sustainable, added-value, cultural wealth
  • suggested wording around “Embracing a culture of change where diversity is seen and known to enhance and enrich the education experience for the whole school population”
  • could structure differently e.g. high level mission, then break it down or use of a driver diagram
  • be more specific that this is about racial diversity:  Scotland's education workforce reflects the racial diversity of the communities it serves

Question 2

Looking at both sets of actions/proposals (included at page 7/8 of this Annex), 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.  

Comments/suggestions as follows:

Action 1

Keep as it is but the key is the job spec for this post. Also wondered how much impact a single person can make so in in the specification there should be a clear indication of how the various stakeholders will be supporting this role.  It’s essential that the postholder gains buy in from the relevant sectors.   

Post embedded in GTCS - and links to accreditations. but it would need to be solidly linked in to grassroots organisations/ groups of Black and minority ethnic teachers such as EIS BAME Network, SAMEE etc. 

This should be the focus – the actions should be connected to this post. What we want to achieve needs to be established and those ambitions should be assigned to the  ensuing job description, in order that it is clear that driving forward these ambitions lies with the successful applicant   

Suggestion to create a network of support across organisations that would support the individual as well as commit other organisations to specific actions.

Action 2 and 3

 These could be merged

Action 4

Transfer ownership of this action to SDS to take forward in partnership with COSLA. Not an action point for this group.

With actions 4 & 5 it’s clear that there is still a need to better understand the reasons why young people don’t think  education is a career for them.  

Action 5

This is very important. Sponsorship and mentoring should go into this action point so that interested young people can be mentored and supported to really stay on track to be a teacher. There are clear actions within this ambition for ITE providers, as well as a link to the new national post above.  

Action 6 and 7

These  could be merged. Action plans should be published for transparency.  

Does this need more involvement from minority ethnic teachers to find out what would make a difference for them?

Action 8, 9 and 11

These could be merged 

No. 8 - identify barriers and alleviate the racism they face. How do we hold institutions/involved individuals to account? What does good practice look like and who decides? 

No. 9  - is this the Anti-Racism training we want all teachers to have across the curriculum? Who is going to show them these practices? Clarification on this point. But this action should sit with the School Leadership and Professional Learning workstream.  

Action 10

Consensus that this belonged to the group School Leadership and Professional Learning workstream   It shouldn’t be removed entirely but reframed …to include an action on how to support Black and minority ethnic teachers already in the service for promotion, progression and general support in dealing with low level microagressions etc

Action 10 to be reframed to focus more on ensuring teachers who face racism and race related barriers are supported. 

Action 12

After “equality leads in Local Authorities…” insert “…plus senior leadership of Councils and elected members”.

Potential to join actions 11 and 12 but recognise specific engagement would be needed with LA leads.  

General points:

The actions could be revisited within a Theory of Change setting out more specific elements of who, what, how etc.  That might enable clearer presentation and a logical framework.  

Instead of the above list, approach should be - what are the measurable actions that flow from the recommendations from the Diversity in the Teaching Profession’s final report  – what activities, responsibilities and necessary partnerships flow from these?   All actions should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timed).  

  • get it right for those already in profession
  • PL offers for leaders and educators to be anti-racist
  • all institutions involved with teachers should review and address barriers
  • national sponsorship offer to support 
  • new national post to facilitate progress on this work from grassroots to national liaising
  • new annual publication of data (undertaken)

Group should be involved in developing this into a job spec for the DiTP role.

Read across to other workstreams  needs to be noted and considered to ensure there isn’t duplication, but complementary activity.  

The need for us to have more granular information/data/evidence that would help us to more specifically understand the needs of different ethnicities as well as having a clearer understanding of what actions are then required.  

Do we have enough research around why pupils don’t consider teaching – we will fail if we don’t uncover and address the real reasons why e.g. it could be different factors for different ethnic groups – do we understand this sufficiently?  

Widen data collection to education professions/education as a whole? With ability to analyse it separately e.g. Early Years practitioners moving on to teaching degrees, following education career journeys etc.

Do we have the capacity/mechanisms to gather increased breadth and depth of data? Clear set of guidance to ensure that Local Authorities have capacity –  collaboration across organisations on data collection is required.  

The who, what and how isn’t clear, for example engaging with communities – what does this mean? (different ethnic groups, have different needs).

Timetable, pace and impetus needs to be developed.  How can we hold institutions to account and how do we define best practice?

Practical points – toolkit, compilation of good practice, statement of intent with guidance.

Next steps: 

In terms of next steps, it would be helpful if members could add any points which are not already covered in this note.  This will enable us to start moving towards a more distilled version of the aim, proposals and actions, which will be circulated for comment.  

(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

Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme – SNG meeting 03 – breakout groups (Diversity in the Teaching Profession) 

Group 1 - Facilitator: Rowena Arshad

Amy Allard-Dunbar - IYS
Jovan Jao Rydder (IYS support)
Simon Cameron, COSLA
Nuzhat Uthmani, Primary School Teacher
Judith Ballantine, SG

Group 2 - Facilitator: Selma Augestad

Maureen McKenna, Glasgow City Council
Annette Foulcer, SQA
Asif Chishti, Secondary School Teacher
Daniella Faakor-Damptey (SYP)
Rosy Burgess (SYP support)
Catherine Jamieson, SG
David Roy, SG

Group 3 - Facilitator: Mélina Valdelièvre

Judith Mohammed, Headteacher
Lorraine Glass, respectme
Victoria Smith, GTCS
Khadija Mohammed, SAMEE
Jacqui Nimmo, Education Scotland 
Aqeel Ahmed, SG
Laura Ross, SG

Group 4 - Facilitator: Lesley Whelan 

Carol Young, CRER
Samir Sharma, Glasgow City Council
Lewis Hou, Anti-Racist Educator
Gary Christie, Scottish Refugee Council
Phil Alcock, SG
Sian Balfour, SG
Pauline Hendry, SG

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