Strategic Board for Teacher Education minutes: 21 March 2024

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 21 March 2024

Attendees and apologies

  • Sam Anson, Scottish Government

  • Catriona Smith, Association of Heads and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS)

  • Stuart Bain, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)

  • Lesley Whelan, Education Scotland

  • David Burgess, Education Scotland

  • Susan Quinn, Educational Insitute for Scotland (EIS)

  • Pauline Stephen, General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS)

  • Tara Lilis, NASUWT

  • Graham Hutton, School Leaders Scotland (SLS)

  • Zoe Robertson, Scottish Council of Deans Education (SCDE)

  • Seamus Searson, Scottish Secondary Teacher's Associatin (SSTA)

  • Duncan Lawrie, Teacher

  • Stuart Robb, Scottish Government

  • Zak Tuck, Scottish Government

  • Stephanie Walsh, Scottish Government

  • Scott Brand, Scotttish Government 


  • Laurence Findlay, Aberdeenshire Council

  • Michael Wood, ADES

  • Barrie Sheppard, NPFS

  • Lorraine Davison, SCIS

  • Khadija Mohammed, University of the West of Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Sam Anson welcomed Catriona Smith to the meeting as the new representative for AHDS.

Minutes of 1 February 2024

Members had the opportunity to comment on these minutes and comments from board members had been incorporated. Minutes and papers will be published on the SG website in due course.

Action point – Secretariat to publish minutes and papers from 1 February meeting

Matters Arising

Centre for Teaching Excellence

Zoe Robertson provided an update on the Centre for Teaching Excellence. She made the following points:

  • She is a member of the Co-Production Group and they have held their initial meeting and will meet monthly moving forward. The group has a wide membership and will report to the Education Reform Programme Board.

  • The group will consider the specification and design of the centre and are currently agreeing their terms of reference and priorities along with identifying who will be the main users.

  • The purpose and understanding of the centre is being explored including how it will be distinctive, what it needs to deliver and how far its scope should extend.

Board members made the following points:

  • Consideration should be given to governance arrangements for the centre being within the board’s remit.

  • Discussion of the centre at the board risks giving tacit agreement to the actions of the Co-Production Group including the name of the centre and some members are uncomfortable with this approach and it was agreed to note that discussion at SBTE did not indicate tacit approval.

  • There is a strong link between the centre and workstream 3 and we need to ensure that language and definitions used are consistent.

Sam Anson confirmed that Zoe Robertson would act as conduit between the board and the Co-Production Group, noted that other board members are also on the group and that the Education Reform Policy Team will be brought into Board discussions as necessary.

Action point – Secretariat to discuss with Education Reform colleagues a joined-up approach to governance of the development of the centre to ensure consistency and avoid duplication.

Education Workforce Modelling and Research Project

The secretariat provided an update on the Education Workforce Modelling and Research project and made the following points:

  • The project is focusing on the impact of pupil projections on teacher numbers over the short and medium term

  • The report has now been received and is with the Cabinet Secretary for consideration. It will be published in the coming weeks.

  • Once published the report will be discussed by the Board.

It was raised if members could be given an embargoed copy of the report ahead of publication and secretariat agreed to consider this further.

Action point – Secretariat to circulate the report to board members when it is published or embargoed ahead of publication if possible.  

Workstream 1 – Workforce Planning and Increasing Diversity of the Profession

The Secretariat introduced an update paper on progress with this workstream. The following points were made:

  • The data shows the challenges in recruiting in hard to fill secondary subjects and there is evidence of geographical challenges

  • There is an ambition to ensure local requirements inform workforce planning and the possibility of transitioning from the current top-down approach to a more bottom-up approach, informed by local data. Also a multi-year approach would help with longer-term planning

  • There is variation in the detail of workforce planning carried out by local authorities and work is needed to ensure that these challenges can be overcome

  • ADES personnel network acknowledges the importance of this work and is willing to assist with it

  • A sub-group will be established to consider data collection at a local authority level.

Board members made the following points:

  • Is the board or the Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group the most appropriate forum to progress workforce planning issues. Links to the HT Recruitment Group should also be made clear. The board’s terms of reference should be reviewed to consider this.
  • A multi-year planning cycle would be welcome

  • Both SCDE and GTCS offered to be on the sub-group. ITE data and provision will need to be considered as part of the deliberations

  • Small-scale research could identify potential solutions and linking into other countries research in this area is needed

  • Retention also needs to be considered within this work

  • It would be helpful to have TWPAG papers containing ITE intake figures shared with the Board for awareness when they are published on the SG website

The Secretariat highlighted that the workstream contains actions relating to increasing diversity within the profession. The following points were made:

  • The Anti-Racism in education programme have targets on increasing the number of minority ethnic teachers and the board needs to have strong links with their work

  • Need to develop the actions to include other protected characteristics

  • The board’s actions need to be unique and not duplicate what other groups are doing

  • A sub-group will be established to progress this element of the workstream.

Board members made the following points:

  • There is a need to embed diversity throughout the workstreams rather than having it sit separately. It is an essential component of workstreams that has to be delivered within them

  • The composition of the sub-group needs careful consideration

  • It is, however, important that the diversity actions do not get overlooked due to a focus on the other aspects of workstream 1

  • Both the ITE and employers frameworks link directly to this work and can be built upon to address barriers such as how we attract and retain teachers from overseas

Action points:

  • Review board’s terms of reference at the next meeting.

  • Circulate link to paper containing ITE intake figures on TWPAG website and circulate  2024/25 figures with board members when they are published

  • Hold bi-laterals with specific board members to discuss how the diversity actions can be mainstreamed and better connect with the full range of actions in workstream 1 / the workplan.

Workstream 2 – Improving the promotion of teaching as a valued career

The secretariat introduced an update paper on progress with this workstream. The following points were made:

  • A sub-group has been established with a wide breadth of stakeholder representation and held their initial meeting on 7 March

  • The sub-group received a presentation from Scottish Government marketing colleagues. This highlighted that there is significant traffic to the teach in scotland website despite no national marketing campaign. A substantial part of the traffic was to pay and conditions of service. Marketing is continuing to email those visiting the website. Also a significant number of website hits from outside of Scotland

  • University initial teacher education providers are working collectively to increase intakes to PGDE programmes and the workstream will link into this

  • Other stakeholders are also proactively promoting teaching, with SCES targeting senior phase pupils and Khadija Mohammed planning a week targeting minority ethnic groups

  • The next stage is consideration of a social media campaign in the Autumn, using existing resources with updated teacher case studies. The resources will be shared with stakeholders to allow them to promote through their own channels

Board members made the following points:

  • This workstream should focus on more than a marketing campaign and aim to address recruitment and retention issues

  • Workstream needs to address retention and ensure teachers feel valued

  • Some stakeholders concerned that the marketing campaign will contradict their own campaigns

  • GTCS suggested due diligence was required on new teacher case studies

  • GTCS also hold data on Teach in Scotland telephone helpline as they manage this work as a contracted service

Action point – Stephanie Walsh to follow-up with GTCS on the data from the Teach in Scotland telephone enquiry line.

Workstream 3 – Continuum of Teacher Education

Pauline Stephen and Zoe Robertson gave a verbal update on progress with this workstream. The following points were made:

  • A workshop was held on 4 March and the sub-group are currently working through the outputs. Different perspectives were offered at the workshop and were mostly positive

  • The principles of the framework are being revisited and will be submitted to the board for consideration and final sign-off

  • Consideration is being given to separating support structures from teacher education

  • The more challenging part to this workstream will be agreeing the detail and priority of how change should be made along with ensuring clarity  around who has the powers to deliver the various aspects, it will not all sit with SBTE.  

Any Other Business

Pauline Stephen updated the Board on the following:

  • The University of Glasgow are holding a teacher education symposium on 13 May 2024. This will include strategic perspectives from leaders in the education field. Further details will follow and an invite will be extended to the Scottish Government.  
  • The UN Report on the teaching profession was published in February 2024. This should be an agenda item to allow the board to consider how it resonates with our system and what we can learn from the report.
  • A future agenda item to allow board members to better understand the legal position that underpins teaching in Scotland would be useful as some recent developing policy appeared not to take this into account.
  • Sam Anson announced that he will be taking up a new role at the start of June and will invite his successor, Orlando Heijmer-Mason to the next Board meeting.

Action point – Secretariat to add the UN Report on the teaching profession and GTCS legal framework as agenda items for future meetings.  

Date of future meetings

A meeting will be arranged for May 2024.

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