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

Minutes from the group's meeting on 25 November 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Andrew Drought, Chairperson
  • Peter McNaughton, ADES
  • 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
  • Jovan Rao Rydder,  IYS, Programme Manager
  • Rosy Burgess, SYP, Events and Campaign Officer
  • Carol Young, CRER, Deputy Director
  • Farah Farzana, CEMVO
  • Katie Ferguson, RespectME
  • Nuzhat Uthmani, P7 Teacher, Glasgow City Council
  • Asif Chishti, Modern Languages Teacher, Fife Council
  • Jacqueline Nimmo, Education Scotland
  • Aqeel Ahmed, Equality Unit, Scottish Government (SG)
  • Judith Ballantine, Equality in Education Team (SG)
  • Emma Bunting, Equality in Education Team (SG)
  • Hazel Bartels, Curriculum Unit, (SG)
  • Laura Ross, Curriculum Unit, (SG)
  • Catherine Jamieson, Support and Wellbeing Unit, (SG)
  • Scott Sutherland, Early Learning and Childcare (SG)
  • Pauline Hendry, Secretariat, (SG)


  • Lesley Whelan, Education Scotland
  • Mélina Valdelièvre, Education Scotland
  • Daniella Faakor Damptey, SYP, Angus South

Items and actions


Welcome and introductions

The chair welcomed everyone to the ninth meeting of the Stakeholder Network Group (SNG) and noted apologies.

It was noted that at the last SNG, we welcomed Jordan Daly and Liam Stevenson from Time for Inclusive Education (TIE), who delivered a very illustrative presentation on how they established TIE and developed it as an organisation, to the point where they’re now embedding LGBTI inclusive education in the curriculum. A really useful discussion followed in break out groups, in order to begin exploring the Government’s commitment that we use the TIE model to develop an anti-racist approach in schools. 

Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes from the last meeting (paper 09/02) were distributed with the papers for this meeting. An update was provided on the actions:

  • make arrangements for Cabinet Secretary to attend this meeting at a future date. Ms Somerville is joining us today and this action is therefore closed. 

Rolling items from previous:

  • equalities in education team to consider options around a group of children and young people that could work alongside the wider group – The third tender exercise to try and identify a group or groups who wish to apply to take this work forward closed on 16 November. Assessment of bids takes place on 29 November and organisations who applied will be notified shortly after that of the outcome
  • Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce (DITPEW) subgroup to liaise with the Scottish Government’s Data Group in order to establish what data is necessary to effectively monitor and evaluate the progress of the workstream - The DITPEW sub group and SG data group met for the first time on 17 November to consider what data is already available, and where gaps exist which require addressing. The two groups will continue to work together in the run up to the publication of the second data report at the beginning of April, so this action is now closed
  • equalities in Education team to look for input from the group on the evaluation tender specification. Officials will initiate process with analytical and procurement colleagues, and will be back in touch to draft and agree a specification that everyone is happy with and captures what is needed - A mini consultation exercise ran from third to seventeenth of November and members were asked for their input in creating the specification document which will be used to tender for a contractor(s) to develop the evaluation framework. Thanks to everyone who responded. The Secretariat is working with analytical colleagues to develop the specification which will be shared with members prior to publication
  • Cathy Jamieson to share draft action plan for Racism, Racist Incidents and Bullying workstream with SNG members for information. Shared with SNG members during the last meeting, so this action is now closed

A couple of questions were posed by members. Firstly about how the action plans will tie in with the Children and Young People’s group. An SG official explained that actions plans will be shared with the Children and Young People’s group as soon as it is established.

Matthew Sweeney wanted to discuss how to build COSLA input into the programme. It was agreed that a discussion between SG and COSLA outside the SNG would be arranged to follow up on this.

There were no further comments and the minutes were agreed.

Action: secretariat to arrange meeting with Matthew Sweeney to continue conversation about COSLA’s input to the programme.

Reflection on REAREP activity in 2021: with Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville

The chair welcomed the Cabinet Secretary to the meeting.

Ms Somerville expressed her pleasure in attending the meeting and apologised for her absence in August. She reiterated the continuity of Ministerial support for this work and her encouragement to officials to be bold and innovative. She noted the work of the programme is developing in line with United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) integration into Scots Law, as well as aligning with other Government strategies and ambitions, such as the Race Equality Framework and Initial Priorities Plan. She is looking to see real, tangible changes, such as increased diversity among teachers, and positive changes to the curriculum.

Judith Ballantine provided a brief outline of the Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme - Stakeholder Network Group (REAREP), then representatives from each workstream subgroup gave an update. 

Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce Group

Nuzhat Uthmani – Primary teacher, Glasgow City Council and EIS BAME Network, Glasgow, member of subgroup.

  • this group was first established in July and has met three times. The group, chaired by Selma Augestad from EIS, has formally agreed the terms of reference and vision
  • outputs and outcomes are currently being developed by the group for presentation at the January SNG meeting, at which actions will be discussed across the wider programme
  • there are direct links between this subgroup’s actions and the recommendations from Professor Rowena Arshad’s report Teaching in a diverse Scotland - increasing and retaining minority ethnic teachers: three years on
  • an early priority for the group is the recruitment of a new national diversity officer post , which will sit with GTCS. The remit for this has been finalised and signed off by the group and recruitment is beginning now

Curriculum reform

Jovan Rao Rydder – Intercultural Youth Scotland (IYS), co-chair of subgroup.

  • the group has been working on the development of their purpose and the language of principles to underpin their ambitions. The group has expressed an active commitment to anti-racism and community engagement
  • as a group, members have started to explore options to refine the curriculum framework and identify what resources will be required in order to achieve this
  • the work of the group will encompass a whole curriculum approach from early years to secondary school
  • the group is heartened by Ministerial commitment to bold and creative change
  • the group considers that the leadership and decision making must come from minority ethnic people with lived experience. There is a need to ensure that the community that brought the programme to this point is represented in decision making, not just in a consultation space. The importance of meaningful participation is high on the agenda
  • the group expect to have an accountable relationship with the Children and Young People group, once established
  • finally, the co-chair asked Ms Somerville to ensure mechanisms exist to ensure accountability to grass roots organisations

Racism, racist incidents and bullying

Victoria Smith – Director, General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), member of subgroup.

  • this subgroup has met twice so far, and is due to meet next week
  • so far, the group has discussed its draft action plan and draft terms of reference, and noted the importance of centring the voices of children and young people in their work
  • the group is conscious of the importance of engaging with the other workstreams to identify areas of potential cross over e.g. supporting racial literacy training for school staff to help identify racist incidents, and recognising that minority ethnic school staff also experience racism and racist incidents in schools
  • workstream members have discussed how currently, incidents of racism can go unrecorded or not categorised in schools:
    • this can happen if incidents are recorded only as ‘bullying’, which can lead to the racism aspect being erased
    • or if incidents do not fall under the term ‘bullying’ – this could include casual use of racist language in school environments, or racist micro-aggressions
  • work is therefore needed to support schools to take a consistent approach to identifying, responding to and recording all racist incidents, and to support school staff to be confident in dealing with incidents when they arise
  • members have also discussed the need to ensure that outputs of the workstream meet the needs of children and young people currently in schools, and this consideration will be key to shaping the final action plan
  • the next meeting of the subgroup will be on 30 November. The focus will be on establishing the workstream’s actions

School leadership and professional learning

Khadija Mohammed – Scottish Association for Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE), member of subgroup.

  • this group have agreed their vision and terms of reference (TOR)
  • they are currently in the development stage of the Building Racial Literacy Programme, which aims to empower educators to identify and implement anti-racist behaviours and processes in their everyday practice
  • an information session was recently held for those who may wish to sign up to the programme

Ms Somerville stated that she was heartened by the clear direction of travel and determination to move forwards. She was pleased to see momentum coming from the subgroups. The actions taken need to be right, but that can take time, in order to ensure that they are developed in a way which results in a successful outcome for black and minority ethnic children and young people. She acknowledged this can be frustrating. She asked members to consider what barriers to progress exist, and what more Government can do to remove them.

Stakeholders raised a number of questions with the Cabinet Secretary, including around how little progress had been made since devolution, the need for robust accountability measures and whether the REAREP should refer directly to critical race theory as informing its development.

In response the Cabinet Secretary referred to Ministers’ encouragement to the group to be bold in their actions, and noted that difficult and uncomfortable conversations have to happen to progress this work. The challenge for the subgroups, and the Stakeholder Network Group as a whole, is to determine how the programme advances. Ministers’ role is to encourage areas to be looked at, but not to be too prescriptive, as that defeats the purpose of the wealth of experience, and understanding of issues, of the stakeholders themselves. The group must help determine the direction of travel of the programme.

REAREP stock take

Judith Ballantine gave an overview of the paper (paper 09/03) attached to the agenda, which set out the existing REAREP structure and functions, and outlined feedback received on potential changes to structures and processes to improve the programme as it advances in to a more action-oriented phase. Members were asked for their input in identifying further improvements.

There was some discussion around the topic of the accountability of the programme to grassroots organisations and minority ethnic communities.

SG acknowledged that, while there is not a representative from every grass roots organisation at the table, members of this group were asked to participate due to their ability to effect change and to bring influence to bear, on behalf of groups and communities with whom they work closely. 

Some members expressed the view that they are not resourced to be that type of conduit, although they can be further resourced to do so.

An SG Equality Unit representative explained that, while all organisations may not necessarily be a conduit to different communities, a number of organisations are funded to do so, and those organisations can facilitate discussions via roundtable discussions, surveys or other tools outwith formal mechanisms where a wider range of views are required. There is a need to strike a balance in order to have effective formal meetings, but also encourage engagement.

Intercultural Youth Scotland indicated that they would be keen to hear about further support and engagement with communities, noting that the issue is less about voices being heard, it’s whether their input is shaping the process. Concerns were reiterated that feedback from anti-racist organisations has been provided to some areas of ongoing work, but the work hasn’t reflected that feedback.

As a result, it was acknowledged that the feedback loop could be improved. There will often be conflicting views where decisions must be made, but further work should be undertaken to ensure that processes allow for the provision of clarity that feedback has been looked at, and reasoning provided where it cannot be acted upon.

The group then split in to breakout groups to discuss paper 09/03 and the feedback readout can be found in the Annex below. 

Next steps and AOB

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

  • the Secretariat will circulate the minutes and write up of today’s break out discussions

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 27 January 2022. It is suggested that the session will be used as an opportunity for the four subgroups to bring their agreed draft action plans to the meeting for consideration by the whole group, in order that we can begin to agree the overarching programme. 


Readout from breakout groups

General comments

  • important to ensure that structure and representation is correct at every level (PB, SNG, sub groups)
  • a point of principle is that BPoC colleagues should not just attend as members and be part of the spaces but should also be in leadership positions within SNG, sub-groups and also in the PB
  • workplan and actions need to be agreed before we can determine the regularity of meetings

The role of the programme board is to provide coherence, scrutiny and expertise. Do you think there are any functions which are missing from this list?

Comments received included the following:

  • it would be helpful to better understand what is meant by coherence in the context of the programme board
  • the programme board’s key functions should be (in no particular order):
    • scrutiny (of fundamental importance – particularly in relation to value for public money)
    • professional expertise
    • lived experience
    • transparency
    • leadership
  • communicating the role of the programme board more clearly is essential
  • there is a lack of dialogue between the SNG and PB
  • more clarity and transparency on the PB’s decision making processes is essential
  • PB should develop a feedback loop – what decisions have been made and why, how input has influenced these decisions

The programme board has representation from the bodies and organisations listed in paragraph eight. Are there any other bodies or organisations who you think should be represented on the programme board?

Comments received included the following:

  • BPoC members should sit on the PB – one suggestion received was that two BPoC members from each sub group sit on the PB in order to provide representation/lived experience/race expertise as these are all considered to be gaps in the PB’s current expertise
  • another suggestion was that a member of the sub-groups could be invited to attend and participate in PB when their work is under discussion, to ensure appropriate influence and visibility
  • a further proposal was that one or two Anti-racist grassroots organisations should be represented on the PB (although recognising that there needs to be a balance between representation/relevance/robustness and the size of PB needing to be workable)
  • representation of teachers is lacking on the PB – is there space for engagement with a Teachers Group or Panel
  • COSLA – to bring expertise to bear on driving forward policy and guiding local authorities
  • there is a need to be mindful when things are labelled 'advisory' that there remains a situation where good ideas and recommendations may still be rejected. This is why there is a need for diverse voices in key decision-making groups such as the PB so that change and progress can be made and solutions sought rather than any default response of “.. it is difficult to do”. We recognise it will be a pull/push style conversation but at least there is debate and discussion

Do you think that the SNG, in its current form (monthly meetings lasting for two hours) is a productive platform?

Comments received included the following:

  • moving forward, sub-groups should develop, grow and be allowed to ‘get on with their work’ and this will inevitably have an impact on the nature and role of the SNG. However, it should still exist in some format

(The responses to questions four and five overlapped hence they are presented together below).

If yes, are there any changes you think should be made to it, e.g., meetings should be shorter/longer, meetings should take a different format – if so, what sort of format do you think would improve the existing approach?

If no, for example because you think that the majority of activity will now take place in sub-groups, do you think the SNG should exist in a different format, e.g., shorter meetings quarterly? Or perhaps it could be used to take forward the evaluation workstream? Or do you think that there is no longer a need for the stakeholder network group at all?

Comments received included the following:

  • regular SNG meetings should still take place but not as frequently as monthly
  • SNG should meet quarterly. A member of the PB should come to SNG meetings to give updates of how they are taking forward recommendations and also share thinking as well as listen. This will enable some connection between PB and SNG
  • potential to use SNG on an ad-hoc basis?
  • potential for sub groups to use SNG as a pre-PB sounding board when required?
  • if SNG members are not on a sub group they may opt out of the process altogether – how do we safeguard against this?
  • SNG activity could take place via email or other information-sharing platform
  • SNG meetings (in whatever format) should be held at a time that is suitable for children and young people to attend, and at a frequency which is not overwhelming
  • how will a meaningful link between the new children and young people’s group and the SNG (in whatever format) be established? 
  • current SNG and subgroup documents are difficult to access as the papers need to be adjusted. This is a barrier to participation
  • as not everyone on the SNG has the time and space to dedicate to attend sub groups, if decisions are taken in sub groups and not reported to SNG (due to it exisiting in a different format) how do we ensure an ongoing dialogue so that non sub group members are kept in the loop?
  • would there be a possibility of having a knowledge hub so that members can keep each other updated outwith the SNG?
  • other commitments and the voluntary nature of members’ roles need to be taken into consideration when deciding frequency of meetings

Do you think the sub groups in their current form are well placed to agree draft actions and drive these forward, working with wider stakeholders during the next 18 months to two years? 

Comments received included the following:

  • the sub-groups are important but we need to recognise that they are all at different points so the pace and frequency of each one will vary
  • some sub groups are better placed than others to do this (because of circumstances and the challenges they each face – e.g. scale of the work, potential changes to the curriculum, etc.)
  • the curriculum sub group is too big, which is limiting its ability to develop a focused way forward
  • are there more innovative approaches to be taken with sub groups?
  • subgroups meet with different frequency, some of which are not consistent with the SNG meeting frequency, therefore a lot of info is repeated

If yes, how do you see the sub groups interacting with other parts of the programme during that time, e.g., the SNG and the programme board?

Comments received included the following:

  • a stronger relationship between the sub groups and the PB should be developed, while retaining a yet-to-be defined role for the SNG
  • the subgroups need to interact more with each other, working in isolation doesn’t work. There is an inconsistency with the structures of subgroups – they should be more coherent

If no, what do you think would be a better mechanism for agreeing actions and driving them forward?

Comments received included the following:

  • underpinning any future mechanism, a clarity of what are likely to be evolving roles and responsibilities for each of the layers of the process is required

Clarification sought

  • what power will the CYP group have?
  • what accountability measures are being implemented? Are there any continuous evaluation processes?


Discussion paper

Back to top