Attendees and apologies
- Andrew Drought, Chairperson
- Maureen McKenna, Director of Education, Glasgow City Council
- Victoria Smith, GTCS, Director of Education
- Selma Augestad, EIS
- Nahid Aslam, NASUWT
- Samir Sharma, QIO and Equalities Lead, Glasgow City Council
- 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
- Rosy Burgess, SYP, Events and Campaign Officer
- Maureen Finn, STEP
- Carol Young, CRER, Deputy Director
- Katie Ferguson, RespectME
- Nuzhat Uthmani, P7 teacher, Glasgow City Council
- Asif Chishti, Modern Languages teacher, Fife Council
- Judith Mohamed, Headteacher, Old Machar Academy, Aberdeen Council
- Lesley Whelan, Education Scotland
- Jacqueline Nimmo, Education Scotland
- Mélina Valdelièvre, Education Scotland
- Aqeel Ahmed, Equality Unit, Scottish Government (SG)
- Judith Ballantine, Teacher Education, Leadership and Reform (SG)
- Zarina Naseem, Curriculum Unit, (SG)
- Laura Ross, Curriculum Unit, (SG)
- Pauline Hendry, Secretariat, (SG)
- Prof. Kenneth Muir CBE, Independent Advisor, Education Reform
- Nina Hyslop, Teacher Education, Leadership and Reform (SG)
- Lynne Robertson, Education Scotland
- Hazel Bartels, Curriculum Unit (SG)
- Stuart Downes, Support and Wellbeing Unit (SG)
- Malcolm Pentland, Deputy Director, Curriculum Qualifications and Gaelic (SG)
- Prof. Rowena Arshad CBE, ormer Head of Moray House School of Education
- Peter McNaughton, ADES
- Daniella Faakor Damptey, MSYP, Angus South
- Catherine Jamiesont, Support and Wellbeing Unit, (SG)
- Siân Balfour, Teacher Education, Leadership and Reform (SG)
- Scott Sutherland, Early Learning and Childcare (SG)
Items and actions
Welcome and introductions
The chair welcomed everyone to the seventh meeting of the Stakeholder Network Group.
He noted that David Roy, who has chaired this meeting for the last 7 months has now departed to work with colleagues on the reform of the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Education Scotland.
The chair noted that on the day of the previous meeting (26 August), Education Scotland’s anti-racism resource was published and some communications activity was delivered in relation to that. There was good coverage on social media in terms of the Education Scotland resource and the other 2 anti-racism resources which were published around the same time. Thanks were expressed to members who highlighted those on their social media platforms.
It was also noted that at the last meeting a presentation was delivered on the next iteration of the Scottish Government’s Race Equality Action Plan from Charlie Goodwin-Smith, from the Race Equality Team. The plan has since published. This group will continue to work closely with the Race Equality Team to ensure that our ambitions align.
Minutes of previous meeting
The minutes from the last meeting (paper 07/02) 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. Officials continue to work with Ms Somerville’s Private Office to identify a new date for her to attend
- scrutiny as a future agenda item. The recently announced change to the future of HMIe may provide an opportunity to feed into that. Prof Ken Muir would be attending today’s meeting and there would be an opportunity to cover scrutiny during the discussion if appropriate, as well as it being part of the ongoing dialogue this group will have with Prof Muir
Rolling items from previous meetings:
- to consider options around a shadow group of Children and Young People that could work alongside the wider group. Two open competitions have been held using the Scottish Government’s procurement process and unfortunately we have been unable to award the tender to any interested parties. Officials are currently looking at alternative ways to fulfil this ambition as a matter of urgency
- secretariat to notify SNG members once Children and Young People’s Group specification has gone live for bids – covered in the action above
- 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 progress of the workstream – This action remains open while the DITPEW becomes properly established. The group met for the second time last week and will meet with the Data Group to consider what data is already available, and where the gaps exist which need addressed
There were no further comments and the minutes were agreed.
Updates from subgroups
School Leadership and Professional Learning (SLPL) - Khadija Mohamed, Chair of the subgroup.
New members have joined the SLPL subgroup, providing wider perspectives. Mélina’s involvement in all four groups was noted as a huge benefit. Her overview of a paper developed for a proposed building racial literacy programme was well received by the group. Two potential outcomes to the programme were noted:
- a tool to support educators to identify racism
- development of skills and confidence in order to engage in racial dialogue
The SLPL subgroup would be involved in the co-design and further development of the racial literacy programme to build sustainability. Consideration would also be given to development of understanding how teachers can engage, and how to avoid inadvertently creating more structural barriers to promotion.
The proposal suggests that the programme would be implemented by Education Scotland. The ambition for the initial programme would be to have 50 different voluntary participants from across all local authorities in Scotland involved in the programme’s development. The proposal suggests delivering the programme online, with some face to face interactions. It would provide the opportunity to engage in-depth in issues of racial literacy, racism and anti-racism, and could be adapted to suit different audiences.
Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce (DITPEW) - Selma Augestad, Chair of the subgroup
The subgroup has now met twice, the most recent meeting was on 14th September. At it, the group welcomed some new members, Sara Medel Jiménez, representing NASUWT and Scott Sutherland, Policy Lead in the Scottish Government on workforce in Early Years. Scott will ensure that the Early Years education workforce perspective is represented on the group.
The group received a joint presentation from Jatin Haria from the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights and Mandy Watts, of the Fair Work Division in the Scottish Government. The presentation linked to the Race Employment Summit held earlier in the year and outlined the post summit recommendations. Mandy and Jatin asked the group to consider how the actions from the subgroup might align to the post summit recommendations.
The subgroup also provided further input to the remit of the new national lead post.
In looking to finalise the terms of reference, it was acknowledged that the wide variety of stakeholders on the subgroup means that there are different levels of ability to influence and to bring about change.
The next meeting of the group will be held in November.
Racism, Racist Incidents and Bullying - Katie Ferguson, member of the subgroup
The final membership of the subgroup has been established. Only one meeting has been held, and there is no further update from the previous Stakeholder Network Group meeting.
The next meeting will take place on 12 October, and the subgroup will be taking forwards early foundation work and working on a revised action plan.
No update as they have not met since the last SNG meeting took place.
Strategic role across all four groups
Mélina Valdelièvre provided her insights from having overview across all four workstreams:
- collaboration and dialogue - new individuals and organisations are being consulted, bringing a wide range of experiences. The groups are balancing long term ambitions with short term impacts. Some actions are becoming more tangible, such as the Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce national post. It was acknowledged that this is only the beginning of the process, and that there is still much to do over a long period of time to see change
- accessibility of work – it was stressed that it is important that the subgroups are asking themselves when it would be helpful to involve more people, for example, when it may be appropriate/necessary to engage children and young people. All subgroups need to give consideration to managing young people’s expectations when joining groups
- Scottish Learning Festival session on ‘Anti-Racism – how do I get it right?’ – was a very good collaborative experience which raised awareness of the Education Scotland website resource as well as the Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme. Around 90 participants took part, from a wide range of backgrounds. The recording of the session will be available until November. The feedback received will help to inform future webinars
Evaluation distillation paper
Judith spoke to the distillation paper (07/03) which was distributed with the agenda.
Key takeaways from the feedback received:
- the Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme is unlikely to have an immediate impact, so there is a need to evaluate over a longer period of time. Long term change and the evaluation of that is key
- need to ensure all four workstreams work collaboratively as part of the evaluation process, as well as agreed ambitions being embedded from the start
- the importance of detailed and nuanced data. The Scottish Government’s internal data group will be a useful resource as work on evaluation progresses
In terms of the creation of a subgroup to take forwards evaluation, different views were noted. Acknowledgement was made of the time and work commitments already made by Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme members. Members agree that their preference is to commission a research body to create a Theory of Change/evaluation model, which would work closely with the group.
Carol Young from the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights referred to evaluation work carried out in the past for the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Given the Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme’s significant agenda and the complexity and nuance of its different workstreams, the likelihood of being able to commission a person who can evaluate the entire programme and its associated nuances may be difficult. She suggested identifying a strong facilitator with evaluation experience who would work in tandem with a small number of individuals with lived experience, to identify what the evaluation process looks like. It was suggested that any group with lived experience involved in the evaluation process should be well equipped, well-funded, and with a clear connection to children and young people. Input should be provided by an organisation(s) with lived experience.
The importance of involving children and young people in the evaluation process was stressed.
The group agreed with the proposed way forward.
- the Equalities in Education team will look for input from the group on the evaluation tender specification. Officials will initiate the 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
Engagement session with Prof Ken Muir, Independent Advisor to the Scottish Government on Education Reform
The chair welcomed Professor Muir to the meeting.
Professor Muir outlined some background to the reform agenda. He noted that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) report covers a huge swathe of Scottish education and made 12 recommendations, which have been accepted in full by the Scottish Government.
He stressed that his remit is not to look at all 12 recommendations in the OECD report, but to look at the reform of two major agencies, Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority, with the latter to be replaced. The integrated nature of the education system means that replacing one agency and reforming another will have collateral impact on other areas. While it is acknowledged that this work may create wider opportunities for reform of Scottish Education, it will be a longer term process to ensure education is fit for purpose going forward. Reform will only be recommended where it will make a significant difference to the lives and opportunities of learners in Scotland.
An expert panel of eight individuals will support Prof Muir’s work, bringing highly specialist knowledge and experience, and understanding of wider educational systems. The expert panel will be supported by a more extensive Practitioner and Stakeholder Advisory Group comprising organisations whose networks would be affected by the reform of Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority. A webpage will be updated regularly with progress on the reform agenda. Schools: Education reform also contains the Terms of Reference of the expert panel and Practitioner and Stakeholder Advisory Group, including membership of both.
A consultation document will be issued shortly, asking individuals and groups to submit feedback and documentation. The 8 week consultation is due to be completed by the end of November, providing an opportunity for groups and networks to submit any feedback and papers. In addition, the reform team can be communicated with via the following email address: Educationreform@gov.scot.
A tight timescale has been applied to Professor Muir’s work, with the report expected by the Cabinet Secretary by mid-January 2022.
The meeting was opened to questions for Professor Muir.
Q - How thoroughly and meaningfully are anti-racism measures being embedded in the reform work, particularly as the OECD report made no specific reference to race equality?
A - All attempts are being made to include as wide a range of organisations and groups as possible, and there is no limitation on others who may wish to be involved. An email address has been made available for any and all to feed back to the process. In addition, Khadija Mohammed, who is part of the expert panel, has a wide understanding of diversity and equality issues in education.
Q - Amy Allard-Dunbar expressed the need to ensure a good level of balance and embedding of anti-racism in the reform work, making sure that there is significant room for anti-racism to be present in the classroom, so teachers don’t need to choose between teaching anti-racism the way they would like to, or teaching what is needed to align with the criteria for examinations.
A – It was reiterated that the remit for Professor Muir’s work is very specific. The Cabinet Secretary has asked him for solutions around the reform of the structure and function of Education Scotland, including the removal of inspection functions, and the replacement of the Scottish Qualifications Authority. It is hoped that the report due to be submitted in January 2022 will sow the seeds for wider discussion over the longer term. He noted that society has changed hugely in the last 20 years since Curriculum for Excellence was implemented, and this work represents a good opportunity to reflect and think about what Curriculum for Excellence set out to establish and how to move forwards from that and what the vision for education should be. It was stressed to stakeholder network group members that they have an opportunity within the consultation process to provide their visions for education in the future. Professor Muir has been asked to be creative and bold in his recommendations in his report, and he needs support and information from education providers in order to do so.
Q - Nuzhat Uthmani asked to what extent are the expert panel looking at models from other countries, such as less reliance on exam systems and more emphasis on value of citizenship in curriculum – is that scope included in this work?
A - Prof Muir said that it is, to a degree. It is critical to education reform work going forwards, but he is not being asked to come up with recommendations around that specifically at this stage. Professor Gordon Stobart recently published a report on national qualifications and assessments. He makes the point that the UK have a long established culture that places a high value on assessments and qualifications, but there are many different education models available. Professor Muir will be looking at Professor Stobart’s report as part of what is considered in writing up his own report.
Q - Jovan Rao Rydder asked how the reform work will ensure that children and young people’s experiences being captured safely and impactfully?
A - Cathy McCulloch, co-director of The Children’s Parliament, is also on the expert panel. The Children’s Parliament has a role to play in terms of what engagement with a wide range of children and young people might look like. In addition, Professor Muir has a background in equalities, including race equality, as part of his work with General Teaching Council for Scotland, and he is very mindful that lots of different perspectives need to be brought to bear on the reform agenda, including on the wider reform programme.
Q - Asif Chishti commented that one of the reasons which prompted the replacement of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, related to the culture of the organisation and wondered what role Prof Muir sees his reform having on making sure the makeup of those organisations is more representative and more diverse?
A - Some see the remit as changing the function and structure of two key agencies, but mainly it is about cultural change. It is hoped that a cultural shift will occur as part of the work, but it is difficult to impact directly on any replacement organisation. The key to getting it right is having a consensual view on what the education system should look like. There is a huge role to play for stakeholders in taking part in the consultation process.
Q – Amy Allard-Dunbar asked whether anti-racism training is provided for Scottish Qualifications Authority staff? If not, will it be considered?
A – This is the responsibility of the chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, but Professor Muir will raise it with the executive management team to ask the question. However, it was stressed that is a not a matter for Professor Muir to impose on the agency.
Khadija Mohammed was invited to contribute her thoughts on her involvement in the reform work. She noted that the national consultation will also be reaching out to parent bodies – the Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE) could play a key role in this. Minority ethnic parents can be reluctant to join parent councils and other school bodies and organisations, and it is imperative they are reached out to in a way that ensures they have a sense of ownership and a voice in this process.
Curriculum making – support for this and how it is taken forwards needs to sit as part of any curriculum and assessment agency that is set up. This is an important part of how to move the education system forwards for the benefit of all learners.
Finally, Professor Muir requested that all stakeholder network group members make sure that networks they engage with are alert to this work and everyone should feel free to engage via the education reform email address at any time. He asked that members encourage themselves and their colleagues to engage in the consultation, particularly by setting out the vision they want for Scottish education.
Next steps and AOB
Samir Sharma provided an update on the progress with Glasgow City Council’s positive action measures for a one year placement for five minority ethnic principal teachers. One of these teachers has been successful in securing a full time permanent post in a principal teacher role. While this is a fantastic achievement, the teacher stated that the only difference to their application in relation to their previous 19 applications/seven interviews for a principal teacher post, was the ability to enter ‘Acting Principal Teacher’ as part of their resume.
The Chair expressed his appreciation to all participants for their time and input and outlined the immediate next steps:
- follow up from Prof Muir’s presentation (links, email addresses etc) will be sent out to all
- minutes circulated for comments within 1 week
The next meeting will be held on Thursday 28 October 2021. Jordan and Liam from the Time for Inclusive Education Campaign will share with us their approach to implementing the programme LGBTI Education in schools.
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