Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme - Stakeholder Network Group minutes May 2021: paper - diversity in the teaching and education workforce workstream

Paper for meeting of working group on 27 May 2021.


This paper endeavours to distil:

  • the issues discussed in the REAREP paper 03/04 on Diversity in the Teaching Profession (tabled at the meeting on 29 April
  • feedback received during the breakout sessions at that meeting

Summary of key messages

SNG members were split in to 4 break out groups, each group was facilitated by a member of the Diversity in the Teaching Profession Working Group.  The sessions provided useful discussions around the aim and the actions.  The following is a summary of some of the key messages arising from those discussions: 

  • the vision statement should be stronger, capturing the benefits that a diverse teaching workforce brings for all, and should not enable geographical areas with low ethnic diversity to opt out.
  • more clarity is required by who we mean when we use the term “communities” i.e. “different communities, will have different needs” 
  • 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?
  • improved data with increased breadth and depth is required to better understand the needs of different minority ethnic groups as well as having a clearer understanding of what actions are required to address those needs
  • actions need to focus on getting it right for those currently in the profession (retention and progression) as well as attracting new teachers
  • SMART actions should flow from the areas of focus from the DiTP working group’s final report which are as follows:

    Getting it right for those already in profession
    Professional Learning offers for leaders and educators to become anti-racist
    All institutions involved with teachers should review and address barriers
    National sponsorship offer
    New national post
    New annual publication of data

  • timetable, pace and impetus needs to be developed and adhered to

Additional questions which the sub-group may wish to consider:

  • how do we hold institutions to account?
  • how do we define best practice?

Re-drafted overarching aim

The aim and actions will set the context for this work being taken forward by the Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce subgroup. It is important that there is agreement amongst SNG members that they are articulated accurately, in order that they can effect change.

The wording and ambition of the Race Equality Framework (REF) was considered and discussed i.e. Scotland's education workforce better reflects the diversity of its communities, during the breakout sessions. The following re-drafted aim reflects those discussions, especially the general view that it needs to be stronger and capture the benefits which a diverse teaching workforce provides for all young people, regardless of the demographics of the local community: 

 “Scotland's education workforce, at all levels, reflects the racial diversity of the communities it serves, to enrich the education experience for the whole school population”

Re-drafted actions based on the discussion of the breakout sessions

There was general consensus that a number of actions could be merged and some re-worded. These re-drafted actions are based on the feedback from the breakout discussions and should now form the basis of further discussion and agreement by the sub-group:   

Creation of a new national post

Develop a job description for the recruitment of a new national “Diversity in the Teaching Profession” post to lead progress on this work from grassroots to strategic, national ambitions. The post holder will work with equality leads and senior leadership teams and elected members in local authorities to gain buy in and engender organisation-wide pro-activeness in embedding established best practice in order to address under-representation.

 Annual publication of data

Develop an annual publication of data which captures ethnicity of teachers in Scotland. The initial focus will be on ethnicity recorded in the teacher census and Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data on ITE entrants and qualifiers, but will be expanded over time to encompass data from all aspects of teaching in Scotland.  

All institutions involved with the career of a teacher should review and address barriers to support Black and minority ethnic teachers to progress into and through teaching 

SCDE to oversee the development of a National Framework for Diversity for ITE providers. It will cover the entire process from marketing, admissions, content and curriculum to student support, and will explicitly address race equality and anti-racism. Using the framework, each ITE institution will  draw up and publish an action plan which embeds race equality and is clear on how that will diversify the teaching profession. 

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. 

Develop a programme of direct engagement with minority ethnic young people and local communities, to help attract more students from minority ethnic backgrounds in to the teaching profession.  

Getting it right for those teachers already in the profession 

A national offer of support with a focus on sponsorship should be developed and implemented to support Black and minority ethnic teachers, who still experience significant barriers, at each stage of their career to progress.

Leaders at all levels must recognise where racism in all its forms is occurring and should provide support to teachers who are experiencing it.  


A Theory of Change model which identifies the existing drivers which will assist in achieving the overarching aim as well as the gaps which require addressing would significantly support the sub group’s deliberations.  The Stakeholder Network Group will hold a meeting to consider evaluation in more detail in June/July.   

Next steps

We would now like to move to a position where members can agree, in principle, the aim and actions, and that these should be the broad areas for the Diversity in the Teaching and Education Workforce sub-group.  

The first role for the sub group will be to consider a potential job description for this post and the potential outputs and owners for the actions. In doing so, the sub group should also take in to account the wider feedback collected during the breakout sessions at the last meeting, in order to ensure that the development of outputs is robust. In addition, it is anticipated that the sub-group will start to consider the actions and next steps required to develop this work to include wider education workforce.  

Membership of the sub-group is still being finalised.

Back to top