The Scottish Government, Education Scotland and their partners have developed over a number of years, frameworks and programmes which are predicated on ensuring that equality and diversity characterises the school experience. Considering all of the protected characteristics as well as socio-economic ones simultaneously ensured an intersectional approach. However, the Scottish Government is of the view that due to the historical and structural nature of racism, the prevalence and seriousness of it and the impact that it has, a separate approach to race is justified.
Race inequality in Scottish education continues to exist and can manifest itself in a number of ways. This includes (but is not limited to):
the negative impact on young people from minority ethnic backgrounds as a result of the way in which Black history, and world history and heritage centering visible and non visible minority ethnic groups is taught.
- anti-racism, separate to Black history, is not explicitly set out in the curriculum
- a lack of appropriate training, support, and leadership coupled with a lack of confidence amongst some teachers resulting in a fear of “getting it wrong” resulting in an environment which does not deliver responsive and relevant teaching. This is further exacerbated by a lack of race, structural racism and lack of understanding of what constitutes racist behaviour
- the lack of a positive and supportive school environment for minority ethnic pupils, parents and staff. A culture needs to be established in schools which is characterised by an understanding of race equality issues, in teaching and learning across the curriculum and led by led by racially competent teachers
- lack of diversity in the teaching profession and broader education workforce which: creates a vicious circle of young people not considering or pursuing teaching as a career. Pupils “cannot be what they cannot see”; and exacerbates issues caused by structural racism such as lack of progression by minority ethnic teachers and school staff
- lack of effective approaches to addressing the underlying causes of racism and bullying amongst pupils, teachers and other school staff
- patchy responses to addressing both racist incidents and racist prejudice-based bullying in school, including reluctance in some cases to recognise and address the fact that racism is involved
Many of these issues are long standing and intertwined. Addressing them is a priority and the 2020 Programme for Government includes commitments in respect of the curriculum and the diversity of the teaching profession. In addition, the Scottish Government’s Race Equality Framework (2016-30) and underpinning Race Equality Action Plan (REAP) 2017-2020 contain actions which aim to address some of the systemic barriers to race equality which still exist in education and learning. The next iteration of the REAP is currently in development and will underpin measures or actions which emerge from the Race Equality in Education Stakeholder Network Group.
The Race Equality in Education Stakeholder Network Group (hereafter known as ‘the Group’) has been established with the central aims of:
- identifying measures which will address race inequality which remains evident in schools
- working with marginalised groups and individuals to ensure that young people from all minority ethnic backgrounds who experience race inequality, have their voices heard and can feed in to the decision making and implementation of this group’s objectives
- advising on potential changes in practice and also on concrete short, medium and long term actions to support the desired outcome, which is that as a result of an anti-racist approach and a culture of racial literacy amongst all school staff and pupils, no minority ethnic child, young person, teacher or member of staff will experience race inequality in a school setting
- the group will be an action and outcomes focussed one, examining the key drivers of systemic race inequality in schools, how barriers which still exist can be removed and how good practice can be built upon
This requires all members and their organisations to commit to providing high level strategic leadership, focussing on what members can do individually, in collaboration and collectively, to address race inequality in schools.
The Group will be an action focused one and will ensure that they deliver in the context of the following principles:
- inspiring and driving change and improvement throughout the education system
- agreeing on action and solutions for short, medium and long term change
- placing emphasis on the experience of minority ethnic children and young people and ensuring that their voices are central to the development of new measures and actions, with change being rooted in the lived experience of minority ethnic pupils and staff specifically
- drawing on high quality evidence and data, including direct lived experience of Scotland’s education and learning landscape
- leading across the whole system working with and through a wide range of partners, including young people
- ensuring coherence in understanding and practices across education settings and transitions within the learner journey
- seeking solutions from an anti-racist perspective, as a result of open, honest and mutually supportive dialogue
To ensure these principles are embedded, the Group will acknowledge and value the fact that each member will bring their own knowledge and understanding of education, learning and race equality, together with experiences in improving provision. The group will also acknowledge and value that some members have lived experience of racism and some do not, resulting in discussions having differential impacts.
The Group will benefit from networks which support some of the members and their organisations.
In the case of differences of opinion, the Group will ensure these are explored, addressed and do not get in the way of rapid work to set out solutions.
The primary role of the Group is to develop in collaboration with working groups who will bring focus and pace to the co-ordinated development of short medium and long term actions which will mitigate race inequality in schools. This will result in young minority ethnic people experiencing school in a way that is free from racism and white practitioners and pupils being supported to become racially literate.
The Group will bring their different viewpoints together with evidence to develop a set of actions which address race inequality in schools across four distinct areas:
- racism, racist incidents and bullying
- diversity in the teaching profession and education workforce
- school leadership and professional learning
The Group will:
- take an intersectional approach in all of its work, ensuring that diversity and inclusivity inform ambitions from the outset, ensuring that the intersections with race and other protected characteristics are properly considered
- ensure that mental health and wellbeing of children and young people and school staff is fundamental to the measures and actions which they develop
- actively seek and consider from the beginning, the views of minority ethnic staff and young people in developing actions which ensures that their views inform the outcome that they agree will lead to improvement
- consider the existing evidence which sets out where good practice in embedding race equality in Scottish education and learning already exists
- identify good practice, both in other parts of the UK and internationally, and consider whether they provide potential measures and solutions which have relevance for the Scottish context.
- identify specific barriers in the planning and delivery of race equality education, at all stages of practitioners’ learning, from Initial Teacher Education throughout Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) and until retirement
- identify where gaps and other barriers are, both strategically and in educational settings when delivering race equality in schools, and establish short term working groups to take forward discrete pieces of work to develop relevant actions
- consider the best way in which the production of the overarching vision, ambition or strategy can bring together both existing good practice and the new and innovative ways of addressing race inequality which the Group will develop, ensuring that measures and actions align with the Scottish Government’s Race Equality Framework (2016-30) and subsequent iterations of the Race Equality Action Plan (REAP)
Children and young people
In order to ensure that policy development and delivery is inclusive of young people, the Scottish Government is increasingly moving towards young people being fully represented in stakeholder engagement and involved throughout policy development and delivery processes. To that end, young people are represented on this group and one of the first linked working groups to be established will focus on young people’s and children’s voices. For the purposes of this group, the definition of young people covers those aged 12 and over or in S1 up to the age of 25. The definition of children covers those under 12 or up to and including Primary 7. Within those definitions, cognisance will be given to the fact that there are significant developmental differences within those age groups.
Membership and responsibilities
Membership of the Group is at the invitation of the Scottish Government. The group consists of representation from a wide range of organisations, a fundamental requirement in achieving robust, well rounded policy ambitions. This inevitably means that there will occasionally be differences in views. Members should bring their expertise to the Group and contribute in a constructive and respectful way, recognising the different – but equally valuable – views held amongst the group. Given the sensitivities of the subject matter, at all times members should be mindful that the group is a safe space for discussion i.e respectful discussion, appreciating differences in lived experiences and valuing the perspectives of all members.
- members will demonstrate commitment to make a positive, practical, meaningful and lasting contribution while working with each other to drive action to facilitate an outcome which addressed race inequality in all aspects of education
- members will communicate with and provide feedback from their organisations and ensure regular communication with the Group and other relevant stakeholders
- members are expected to attend meetings wherever possible. However, the substitution of a deputy is acceptable on the understanding that the deputy will provide a report on the meeting to the substantive member and the group they represent. Members submitting apologies for meetings and who are unable to send a deputy, should notify the Programme Manager, Judith.Ballantine@gov.scot or Programme Officer Pauline.Hendry@gov.scot in advance
Full membership of the Stakeholder Network Group can be found at Annex A.
Leadership and links with other relevant activity
Meetings will be conducted by the Chair.
The Equality in Education Team in Learning Directorate will provide secretariat support to the Group and will facilitate links with the wide range of other organisations, activities and Programme for Government commitments which are relevant to this Programme.
Group members will ensure their organisations work with SG communications colleagues to allow consistency and coordination of messaging around its work and to support successful engagement with the wider sector as well as the public. Any references to the group, or its work, on social media should be in line with this Terms of Reference.
Frequency and location of meetings
It is proposed that the Group will meet once per month. Given that the majority of people are working remotely as a result of the ongoing response to the global pandemic, meetings will be held for the foreseeable future using MS Teams. The Equality in Education Team will advise of dates and times in due course.
Papers and minutes
Papers and minutes of meetings will be published on the Scottish Government’s website.
Directorate for Learning
Annex A – membership
Race Equality in Education Programme - Stakeholder Network Group membership
- SQA – Annette Foulcer
- COSLA – Matthew Sweeney
- ADES – Maureen McKenna
- QIO Glasgow City Council – Samir Sharma
- Inverclyde Council – Michael Roach
- GTCS – Pauline Stephen
- EIS – Selma Augestad
- NASUWT – Mélina Valdilièvre
- CERES, Professor Rowena Arshad
- ITE (University of Aberdeen) Dr David Smith
- IYS - Amy Allard-Dunbar
- SYP – Daniella Faakor Damptey MSYP
- BEMIS – Rami Ousta
- CEMVO – Parveen Khan
- CRER – Carol Young
- RespectME – Katie Ferguson
- Scottish Refugee Council – Gary Christie
- Scottish Traveller Education Programme (STEP) – Maureen Finn
- SAMEE - Khadija Mohammed
- The Anti- Racist Educator – Lewis Hou
- Secondary School teacher – Asif Chishti
- Primary School teacher and DEC representative – Nuzhat Uthmani
- Headteacher – Judith Mohammed, Oldmachar Academy, Aberdeen
- Rosy Burgess – Scottish Youth Parliament
- Jovan Jao Rydder – Intercultural Youth Scotland
- David Roy, Teacher Education, Leadership and Reform
- Judith Ballantine, Teacher Education, Leadership and Reform
- Sian Balfour, Teacher Education, Leadership and Reform
- Pauline Hendry, Teacher Education, Leadership and Reform
- Zarina Naseem, Curriculum Unit
- Phil Alcock, Improvement, Attainment and Wellbeing
- Hilary Third, Race Equality Team
- Lesley Whelan, Leadership Learning
- Jacqui Nimmo, Scrutiny Support
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