Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme - Stakeholder Network Group minutes: June 2021

Minutes from the group's meeting on 23 June 2021.

Attendees and apologies

  • David Roy, chairperson
  • Maureen McKenna, Executive Director of Education, Glasgow 
  • Prof. Rowena Arshad CBE, Former Head of Moray House School of Education
  • Victoria Smith, GTCS, Director of Education
  • Selma Augestad, EIS
  • Nahid Aslam, NASUWT
  • Khadija Mohammed, SAMEE
  • Annette Foulcer, Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)
  • Matthew Sweeney, COSLA
  • Michael Roach, Head of Education, Inverclyde Council
  • Amy Allard-Dunbar, IYS, Policy Co-ordinator
  • Jovan Rao Rydder, IYS, Programme Manager
  • Uuganaa Ramsay, The Anti-Racist Educator
  • Carol Young, CRER, Deputy Director
  • Parveen Khan, CEMVO
  • Katie Ferguson, RespectME
  • Nuzhat Uthmani, P7 Teacher, Glasgow City Council
  • Asif Chishti, Modern Languages Teacher, Fife
  • Lesley Whelan, Education Scotland
  • Mélina Valdelièvre, Education Scotland
  • Liza McLean, Deputy Director, Learning Directorate
  • Aqeel Ahmed, Equality Unit, Scottish Government (SG)
  • Siân Balfour, Teacher Education, Leadership and Reform (SG)
  • Zarina Naseem, Curriculum Unit, (SG)
  • Phil Alcock, Support and Wellbeing, (SG)
  • Catherine Jamieson, Support and Wellbeing Unit, (SG)
  • Pauline Hendry, Secretariat, (SG)


  • Judith Mohamed, Headteacher, Old Machar Academy, Aberdeen
  • Lewis Hou, The Anti-Racist Educator
  • Peter McNaughton, ADES
  • Daniella Faakor Damptey, SYP, Angus South
  • Rosy Burgess, SYP, Events and Campaign Officer
  • Samir Sharma, QIO and Equalities Lead, Glasgow
  • Jacqueline Nimmo, Education Scotland
  • Judith Ballantine, Teacher Education, Leadership and Reform (SG)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The chair welcomed everyone to the fifth meeting of the Stakeholder Network Group (SNG). 

A warm welcome was extended to Nahid Aslam, who is replacing Mélina Valdelièvre as the new NASUWT representative. Mélina Valdelièvre remains on the group in her new role as Lead Specialist (Race Equality) with the Professional learning and Leadership Team within Education Scotland.

An update on manifesto commitments and advice to Ministers:

  • the Cabinet Secretary has responded to a submission to update on work being undertaken around Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education and has responded saying that she wishes to meet members of the Stakeholder Network Group, along with the Minister for Equalities
  • we will start planning for Ms Somerville to join the meeting at the end of August and we’re also working with Comms colleagues to identify other opportunities to highlight the group’s progress so far

The recent publication of the OECD report and announcements in Parliament around Education reform was raised, and the possibility of connecting with Ken Muir, who has been announced as Advisor on reform. David explained that the work to reform the education agencies was at a very early stage, but that he would be happy to make that contact with Prof Muir.

Action: Make arrangements for Cabinet Secretary to join SNG meeting at end of August.

Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes from the last meeting (paper 05/02) were distributed with the papers for this meeting. An update was provided on the actions:

  • to consider options around a shadow group of Children and Young People (CAYP) that could work alongside the wider group – this action remains open in that the shadow group won’t be set up until the start of the new school term, however the Invitation to Tender went live on Friday 17th June and a copy of the specification sent to all SNG members for information. We hope that the CAYP group will be in the final stages of the tender process and set up by the time of the next SNG meeting at the end of August
  • secretariat to notify SNG members once Children and Young People’s Group (CAYP) specification has gone live for bids – covered in the action above
  • DITPEW subgroup to liaise with the Scottish Government’s Data Group in order to establish what data is necessary to effectively monitor and evaluate progress of the workstream – This action remains open until the DITPEW has been established and meets with the Data Group to consider what data is already available, and where the gaps exist
  • at meeting 3 a rolling agenda item was added which sees Maureen McKenna providing a brief, verbal update on progress in terms of the recruitment exercise Glasgow City Council is undertaking for minority ethnic staff

Maureen McKenna provided a brief update on the positive action being taken by Glasgow City Council to attract and encourage minority ethnic teachers to apply for Principal Teacher posts. The closing date for applications has now passed and the recruitment process was successful, resulting in the placement of 5 candidates. Good learning points for the authority were captured during the recruitment process, and will be shared by Maureen in her involvement in the DITPEW subgroup.

The tender for the CAYP group was discussed briefly and a question raised about the evaluation of the tenders. It was stated that the evaluation of tenders will be undertaken by Pauline Hendry and Judith Ballantine, and a colleague from Educational Analytical Services.

There were no further comments and the minutes were agreed.

Revised curriculum reform paper

Zarina Naseem, Curriculum Unit, presented the revised paper on Curriculum Reform (paper 05/03), based around the discussions and feedback received at the previous meeting (27 May). She outlined the next steps as:

  • the creation of the subgroup, which is now underway.
  • the subgroup will then agree and take forward the actions from the revised paper and consider the outputs and owners for actions
  • the first full meeting of the subgroup will take place in August, and invitations to this have been sent out
  • additionally, colleagues in the Curriculum Unit will be seeking to meet individually with members to identify priorities to the subgroup
  • the draft vision for the workstream will be agreed at the subgroup meeting in August and will be shared with the wider SNG then

Agreement in principle was sought on the revised paper as an approach to the work relating to the Curriculum Reform workstream.

No further comments were offered on the curriculum paper.

An update was provided by Sian Balfour on the progress reached with the DITPEW subgroup. The membership of this group has now been largely established. The first meeting of the group will take place in the beginning of July. The main focus of the first meeting will centre around the remit of a national diversity post. A fuller update will be provided to the August SNG.

An update was provided by Lesley Whelan, workstream lead, on the progress reached with the SLPL subgroup. This group has now met twice and their second meeting provided a chance to look at overarching aspects and decide on focus. They need to get a greater picture of mapping and flesh this out further. This work needs to be taken forwards as a particular action, which may require funding, and will be discussed further during the August SNG. The SLPL subgroup are keen to be key part of the evaluation item during the SNG meeting in August. The overarching actions and SLPL underpins the other workstreams. They acknowledge that they are keen not to move forwards too quickly by agreeing all actions before the other workstreams are fully functional.

Paper: racism, racist incidents and bullying

Phil Alcock, Support and Wellbeing Unit, presented the paper on Racism, Racist Incidents and Bullying (paper 05/04) and gave an overview of the paper, highlighting the following key points:

  • culture and ethos is important, as is support and leadership
  • the paper identifies a vision for the workstream and also six drivers for change - leadership, guidance, curriculum delivery, professional learning, the voice of young people and communication and engagement
  • it suggests indicative short and long term actions along with potential leads
  • the aim of providing an indicative list is to provide a very clear focus to the subgroup and members of SNG in order to identify the kinds of actions they are looking to take forwards and also to raise interest in joining the subgroup

Katie Ferguson from respectme then provided an overview on current and ongoing work around racism and racist bullying. Respectme have recently brought together a group of organisations that are working in racial equality, some of whom are members of the SNG, and others who are not. The group have been very useful in highlighting gaps from community based perspectives. Some of the discussions with this group have helped to shape the actions as set out in the paper. respectme are keen to keep this discussion group going, and to continue their input to the subgroup, but without duplicating conversations.

It was noted that Respect for All: The National Approach to anti-bullying for Scotland’s Children and Young People was published in November 2017, and is due to be refreshed next year. Key gaps and issues are emerging and have been highlighted through various discussions. The work of the subgroup will likely also feed into this work.

The group discussed the following points:

  • September 2021 - Development of a clear guide for schools on their responsibilities in relation to preventing and responding to racism and racist bullying including the appropriate recording and monitoring system to use. It was questioned whether the September deadline referred to the production of a draft document, or full publication by that date. It was explained that the timeline is an indicative one for now, dependant on the progress within the subgroup. However, it is hoped to have a nearly finished article by September in order for it to be issued to schools early in the new academic year to provide much needed guidance. The document can be refreshed as more knowledge and best effective practice comes to light. Concerns remained that similar documents have been issued in the past, without enough recognition of what a racial incident is. Members expressed wariness of an initial guidance document that may not have enough sustainable value. Further explanation was provided that the guidance action is a short term action under the Communication and Engagement driver, and is about providing a very brief overview and summary to schools about what their current responsibilities are, and the ways in which SEEMiS modules can be used by schools, and the exercise is being approached from a communications perspective
  • it was pointed out that actions relating to racism and racist incidents towards teachers were lacking from the document
  • the weblink to the CRER/RespectMe/Scottish Government resource from 2019 was requested: Addressing Inclusion - Racism, proof 2 object.cdr (respectme.org.uk)
  • CRER noted that there were a few weaknesses within the guide. Nuances in national policy do not necessarily sit well with the purpose of the workstream, for example Government lines which say that bullying is about relationships between young people. Bullying can happen without any relationship. It was suggested to ask the Minister to write to all headteachers explaining the expectations in respect of practice. The chair advised that the team are outwardly pushing comms and actions, and that the Cabinet Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville is interested in the work and may seek to meet the SNG in due course

The group then moved into breakout groups to discuss the paper that had been circulated beforehand and to consider the following questions:

  • do you agree with the vision for this workstream?
  • do you agree with the suggested actions to strengthen and improve the approach to addressing incidents of racism and racist bullying in schools?
  • is there anything missing from the list of suggested actions?
  • do the timescales seem sensible and achievable?

Feedback and a summary of discussion from the breakout groups can be found as an annex to these minutes.

The discussion following the breakout sessions led to the following actions:

Action: Equalities in Education Unit to liaise with policy colleagues in ELC to establish any work already under way that links with the work of this group and provide an update at the next meeting.

Action: Equality Unit colleague to provide update to SNG on REAP and how our work will fit in with that.

Action: Scrutiny as a future agenda item. The recently announced change to the future of HMIe may provide an opportunity to feed into that.

Next steps and AOB

The Chair expressed his appreciation to all participants for their time and input and outlined the immediate next step:

  • comments from the breakout groups will be circulated alongside the minutes. Upon receipt, the group are asked to provide any additional comments they may have

Thanks were expressed to Phil Alcock for his work on the Racism, racist incidents and bullying workstream. This is Phil’s last meeting with the group as he will shortly be moving onto another part of the Scottish Government.

There will be no meeting in July. The next meeting will be held on Thursday 26 August 2021 at 15:00. The focus of the meeting will be on evaluation, while also starting a cycle of reporting from subgroups.

Members should feel free to get in touch over the period before next meeting if there are any matters they wish to discuss.


Back to top