Racism and Racist Incidents Subgroup minutes: November 2023

Minutes from the group's meeting on 8 November 2023.

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed members, and welcomed the representative from Connect as a new member. Apologies were received from IYS, ADES, Education Scotland and Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare team.

The Chair noted the workstream responsibilities relating to respectful co-working.

The CEMVO Chair noted that they will be stepping down from their role in CEMVO. Another member from CEMVO will join the workstream.

Minutes from October meeting

The Chair noted that no comments have been received on the minutes from the October meeting. The workstream confirmed that they are content to publish.

Action: Secretariat to publish October minutes on Scottish Government website.

Update from the Diversity in the Teaching Profession subgroup (DITPEW)

The Chair welcomed the member from GTCS, who is one of the Chairs of the Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce (DiTPEW) workstream.

Members noted action 6 of the workstream’s action plan, which is a shared action with RRI and DiTPEW on racist incidents experienced by school staff.

The DiTPEW Chair gave an overview of the recent work of the DiTPEW which falls under four main areas:

  • leading action at a national and strategic level to increase race diversity in the teaching profession
  • supporting regional improvement collaboratives and local authorities to make progress in increasing diversity in the teaching profession
  • providing advice to universities offering Initial Teacher Education to help progress actions that will increase the number of black and minority ethnic applicants, entrants, and qualifiers
  • developing and championing sponsorship approaches to engaging black and minority ethnic teachers

Members discussed areas of overlap with the RRI and DiTPEW. Areas discussed included:

  • DiTPEW Chair noted that the workstream are very aware that school staff must not be left out of discussions on racism and racist incidents. DiTPEW are reassured by current approach of RRI
  • wellbeing of teachers: if teachers face racism, where would they raise a complaint or record racism and what can they expect to happen? RRI whole school approach (WSA) should set this out
  • guidance for recording of racist incidents against teachers will be considered by RRI as part of WSA, in discussion with DiTPEW
  • consideration of any senior leadership team training or information which may be needed in relation to responding to racist incidents experienced by school staff
  • it was noted that victimisation can be big issue for minority ethnic teachers and school staff, who may not feel confident to report racism. RRI workstream can consider relationship between racism/racist incidents and impacts on career longevity and progression as part of evidence base for guidance included in WSA
  • WSA should include guidance on how to respond to school staff who experience racism and how to prevent racism against school staff
  • WSA should also include students on student teacher placements

Scottish Government clarified that it is the role of the local authority to determine responses to racist incidents experienced by teachers. 

Skeleton whole school approach (WSA) discussion paper

The workstream discussed the updated skeleton WSA and discussion paper. Points noted included: 

  • audience: workstream has been tasked with providing focused guidance for all schools, including independent and grant-aided schools, and wider school communities. This will include reference to school staff, local authorities, third sector support agencies, children and young people, and parents/families/ carers
  • specific scope and remit for this work is for schools. Therefore schools themselves are the audience. Role of education authorities, independent and grant-aided schools will also be incorporated
  • need to be careful that we stay within scope, but also that we reflect that different individuals have different roles within this. A whole school approach is one approach for everyone; not multiple approaches. The document should reflect all the different people who have a role. There are specific legislative responsibilities within the group
  • noted importance of involving parents, carers, and families; culture at home influences attitudes at school
  • families are not a homogenous group; there are families who experience racism and those who do not
  • importance of preventative approach in the WSA 
  • links to HMI and evaluation
  • collaborative approach to how the WSA will be developed and implemented in each school at local level. The collaborative approach should be able to be seen at all levels of school staff and all parts of school community
  • parents and parent councils can be agents of change. Need to have discussions which carries people along with them
  • WSA should be clear on what is within and outwith the responsibility of schools
  • format of the guidance: there are specific guidelines around publications on Scottish Government website. Required to adhere to accessibility guidelines. Limited use of videos/animations etc
  • it was noted that there is a space on the GLOW blog for RRI outputs 
  • need to consider what is the most efficient for school staff to use; this can be key consideration for engagement with practitioners
  • a fixed written document has benefits in that it is immediately available. Other formats like websites can encounter issues around maintenance, funding etc 
  • could case studies be added to WSA? Other guidance on Health and Wellbeing in schools have included case studies or scenarios; this approach can be further considered by the workstream once the drafting has begun

Workstream members were asked to note if there are specific areas of drafting the WSA where they would like to be particularly involved. It was confirmed that all members will have opportunities to engage with and contribute to all areas of the WSA. The Chair confirmed that the secretariat will bring a workplan / high level schedule to December meeting for members’ consideration. 

Action: secretariat to bring draft workplan to December meeting.

Members noted other groups or organisations to engage with during the drafting process as ‘critical friends’. Consideration of critical friends can be a specific agenda discussion at a later meeting. Scottish Government confirmed that children and young people engagement does not have to be within schools and can include youth groups or community groups. 

Any other business

Scottish Government gave an update on the prejudice-based bullying subgroup of the Respect for All Review and invited members to note their interest if they wish to be involved. 

The Chair thanked members for their input. The next meeting will be on Wednesday 6 December.

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