Strategic Board for Teacher Education meeting papers: November 2023

Papers for the meeting of the group on 15 November 2023.


  • welcome and introductions 
  • overview of the new approach/agreed workstreams (SBTE/26/02)
  • SBTE workplan – workstream 2 – progress report (oral)
  • SBTE workplan – workstream 3 – progress report (oral)
  • Centre of Teaching Excellence (SBTE/26/03)
  • any other business 
  • date of future meetings

For information

  • Curriculum Assessment Board (SBTE/26/04)

November 2023

SBTE workplan development – October 2023


Following the SBTE workshop held on 4 September there was discussion and agreement on revising the overarching aim and workstreams. Below are the revised aim and workstreams (identifying lead organisations and intended outcomes).  

The workstreams have been tailored to ensure that they address the issues raised at the morning session where the board discussed “Early Career Teaching of the Future”. These issues included:

  • review of the structure of teacher education through the early phase (spanning ITE and probation)
  • ensure a universal offer that addresses inequalities is available from university to post-probation
  • invest in school-based educators
  • allow time for professional learning including structured support post-probation
  • improved partnership working 
  • learn from other systems 

Action: Now that the board has agreed these, we need lead organisations to take this work forward. We envisage that lead organisations will aim to develop the actions needed and timescales to achieve these outcomes and decide which other stakeholders and groups are required to be involved in the process e.g. Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group, SNCT and Anti-Racism in Education Programme.

Overarching aim:

Ensure that we have the right numbers of high-quality teachers, in the right places, with the right areas of expertise. The board will also ensure that:-

  • the teaching profession is representative of the diversity of Scottish society
  • teaching is seen as an attractive and valued profession with a focus on professional learning
  • teachers are empowered to lead and influence to allow them to deliver high quality learning and teaching
  • teachers are equipped to support improved learning and societal outcomes for all children and young people
  • teachers are involved in the preparation for planned education reform and other wider system changes


Workstream 1: workforce planning and increasing diversity of the profession

Lead organisation: COSLA (with assistance from SCDE, ADES and GTCS)

Outcome: Local and national teacher resource demands are better understood to improve longer-term workforce planning. This includes tackling geographical challenges and ensuring targets for ITE programmes are set and met accordingly, particularly at secondary level and for hard to fill subjects such as science, technologies, mathematics, modern languages and Gaelic. The barriers to individuals with protected characteristics such as race, religion or disability entering or staying in the teaching profession are better understood and reduced.

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

Lead organisation: SG (with assistance from GTCS, COSLA and trade unions)

Outcome: Teachers are valued and teaching is recognised and better promoted as important, complex and impactful work, improving the attractiveness of teaching as a career.

Workstream 3: Continuum of teacher education 

Lead organisations: GTCS, SCDE and ES

Outcome: Teachers in the early phase of their careers experience more consistent mentoring and coaching to increase their confidence, motivation and satisfaction, raising retention rates after achieving full registration with the General Teaching Council for Scotland. Teachers have the opportunity to refresh and enhance their skills and knowledge as they progress through their careers, feel empowered within their roles and are leaders of learning within their community.

SBTE Secretariat
October 2023

Centre for Teaching Excellence


The Cabinet Secretary recently announcement her intention to create a Centre for Teaching Excellence with the aim that this will add significant value to the education system. There is a commitment to co-design the Centre with COSLA and local government colleagues, teacher organisations, teachers and practitioners, universities and our national education bodies over the coming months.  

The Scottish Government are clear that excellence in learning and teaching must be the foundation of Scottish education. The announcement to establish a new Centre for Teaching Excellence is the platform for engagement about how we deliver on that shared ambition, as part of education reform. 

It is recognised internationally that, along with leadership, the quality of teaching is the key factor within schools in improving children and young people’s learning and outcomes. Research evidence also indicates that the quality of teaching is the most important lever schools have to improve the attainment of children and young people. 

Excellent teaching is happening in schools across Scotland. Children and young people are achieving well, and the attainment gap is narrowing, but more can be done to ensure that all children and young people benefit from excellent teaching. Ensuring teachers and practitioners are supported in delivering high-quality teaching is essential to achieving the best outcomes for all, particularly those most impacted by poverty. Creating the Centre is an important component of reform and will provide a further opportunity to clarify roles and responsibilities within the system, including those of the new education agency. 

The creation of a Centre for Teaching Excellence is our response to a recognised gap in the current system. Its creation is not about moving existing functions from Education Scotland, but about seeking to add value where it is most needed. 

Aims of the centre

Broadly, the centre could add significant value to our system by: 

  • ensuring that Scotland remains at the forefront of innovation in education, learning from research and international best practice as well as harnessing the best of Scottish education and the latest innovations to support and empower the profession
  • distilling research and evidence into practical and digestible support for all teachers in Scotland
  • strengthening links between academia and the profession
  • drawing on the experiences of children and young people who understand what excellent learning and teaching looks like
  • developing teaching resources, recognising that teachers themselves are the experts in resource development, tailored to the needs of the children and young people they teach

Next steps

There is a planned series of engagements to hear from teachers and practitioners, local government, universities and national education bodies in line with the commitment to co-design.


Board members are asked for their initial views on:

  • the role and function of the centre and how it can be informed by a framework of career long teacher education
  • the role you believe the centre could play in driving excellent learning and teaching
  • are the areas set out above are the right areas to bring additional value to our education system? 
  • in what other areas could the centre bring added value and support for the profession? 

SBTE Secretariat
November 2023

Curriculum and Assessment Board update

At the June meeting of CAB, the following items were discussed:

OECD recommendations 1.1-1.4 - update on progress

This is a standing item on the progress of the implementation of OECD recommendations 1.1-1.4. These are curriculum specific recommendations which ES have lead responsibility for (working across ES teams and in partnership with ADES Curriculum and Qualifications Group).

Key work highlighted included:

  • work with local authorities and regional improvement collaboratives on the four capacities and place based activity
  • pilot work to explore the role of knowledge in maths, health and wellbeing and social subjects
  • a national professional learning offer in curriculum design
  • work on innovative timetabling
  • profiling achievement

The exploratory nature of the work was noted and the interdependencies with the three recently published reports – National Discussion on Education; the Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment and the Independent Review of the Skills Delivery Landscape. The work may pivot depending on the Government response.

Innovative Timetabling Group

There was an update on the work of the Innovative Timetabling Group which has met four times since October 2022.

The group has focused on the following areas:

  • approaches being taken to widen learner pathways by integrating Foundation Apprenticeships, college offers and work based learning opportunities
  • challenges facing schools in various contexts when integrating these into senior phase offers
  • how schools are responding to these challenges
  • how effective local partnerships can support planning and delivery
  • timetabling approaches that can support curriculum planning

The group provides an opportunity to document and share ideas on innovative timetable models, what is possible in terms of curriculum flexibility now and in the future and also provides a forum to consider practical implications of policy proposals.  

A first briefing paper has been published focused on realising parity in the senior phase, highlights the competing priorities facing timetablers and some of the key challenges around integrating work based opportunities, particularly for rural areas. It identified 4 main models that could be utilised e.g. integration of work based offers into school timetable/column structures, whole day extraction, school based delivery models and hybrid approaches including virtual learning. The next briefing paper will focus on contact time and more technical aspects of timetabling.

Profiling achievement

Education Scotland and Skills Development Scotland updated on the work of the national co-design group which has been undertaking exploratory work on a future Scottish Learner Profile. This had brought together a group of 85 educators and other professionals that was representative of the system. There has been consensus on the need for a national solution to profiling. There is lots of good practice but information on learners can sit in lots of different systems and there is a clear advantage of having it all in one place. The importance of language, and that the term ‘wider achievement’ was found by the group to be unhelpful as it can lead to the question “wider than what?”. The group agreed when learning about profiling to instead use only one word: achievement.

A paper has been produced summarising the work to date and the proposal for a national solution, underpinned by a set of key principles. The next stage of this work will be to carry out further testing on the concept, prototyping and engagement.

Developing a systematic approach to curriculum review

CAB members were provided with an update on a proposed model for a planned cycle of curriculum review in Scotland. This follows on from the OECD recommendation in 2021 that Scotland would benefit from a more systematic approach to curriculum review, and a similar action in the National Discussion report. As well as a rapid evidence review of international best practice, extensive stakeholder engagement has taken place to develop a model suitable for a Scottish context. CAB members were posed a series of questions and were given a period of time over summer to reflect on the model and feedback views.

The model sets out a “curriculum review cycle” encompassing four stages. Every 10 years, there would be an overarching ‘system level’ review of the curriculum framework i.e. its vision and priorities to ensure it is still fit for purpose (“curriculum review”). The review will be overseen by a governance group which will have strategic oversight for firstly the curriculum review cycle (similar to the National Discussion exercise) and secondly, determine (based on the multiple sources of evidence, notably from research, inspection reports, teacher, parental and pupil feedback) areas for particular focus – what curriculum areas would be reviewed and over what time period (“curricular area reviews”).

At the September meeting of CAB, the following items were discussed:

  • education reform

An update was provided on Education and Skills Reform. There has been a series of reports and independent reviews (National Discussion on Education; Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment; Independent Review of the Skills Delivery Landscape and Purposes and Principles for Post-School Education, Research and Skills) published over the last year. The Cabinet Secretary has confirmed that she would like more time to look at the findings and hear more views, given that these proposed reforms could lead to quite significant change. There will still be an Education Reform Bill taken to Parliament later this year (in relation to the new qualifications body and the new inspectorate). The focus has been on revising timelines in relation to that and making sure the sequencing is right. There will be a Scottish Government response to the various reports in autumn.

  • OECD implementation plan update

It was highlighted that at the start of the academic year 2023-2024, there continues to be a strong appetite to focus attention on the curriculum, its purpose, and how that is being experienced by children and young people post-covid and into their futures. Schools and settings are increasingly recognising the links between curriculum design and learner agency, and the impact of this on achievement, engagement and attendance.

It was noted that the successful realisation of the OECD recommendations (in particular 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3) will depend on the Scottish Government response to a range of subsequent recommendations in a number of independent reviews. Following the Scottish Government response, the current OECD implementation plan will be updated

  • National Qualifications update

SQA provided reflections on the 2023 National Qualifications results and next steps. Over 140,000 learners received their certificates and the real diversity of achievement was acknowledged. Course reports for every subject, at every level will be published from this month onwards. Full evaluation of assessment and awarding in 2023, modelled on 2021 and 2022 evaluations, will begin after completion of the appeals process. 

  • National Improvement Framework

CAB members were made aware that the National Improvement Framework annual statutory review is underway and asked for views on the 2024 plan. Officials updated on the changes made last year, including a revised vision statement which recognised the need for sustainability to be a core aspect of the learning experience.

The 2023 NIF incorporated work being undertaken to implement the recommendations from the Muir report and other national level activity that had been put in place during 2023.  This review will need to consider how best to capture key improvement activity as a result of the National Discussion and the Hayward review of qualifications and assessment, both of which reported this year.  We want to ensure that the NIF pulls together all the key activity and priorities for 2024, so that there is a single source for the wide range of improvement activity planned/underway in the education system.  

The 2024 NIF will also be informed by the improvement activities that are taking place in local authorities and schools, and which have been captured in local and regional improvement plans.  

CAB members were invited to respond to a series of questions including:

  • how can we make better use of the Insight tool to support the learner journey and ensure that we are using the best data to drive improvement?
  • is there more can we do to secure greater visibility of the NIF drivers in local and regional improvement planning, to help to ensure a national line of sight on local ambitions and practices?

School Leaver Attainment – Core Measure for Improvement

Following on from an input to CAB earlier in the year, this update provided more information and sought views on the proposal to expand the scope of Scottish Government National Statistics on school leaver attainment, with a view to meeting the following aims:

  • alignment to government policies on broader attainment and a wide range of learner pathways
  • alignment between outputs used at a national level and products used at school/LA level
  • continued provision of a consistent time series based on the NQ-only attainment measure

Following user consultation and development work we intend to keep the NQ-only measure as the headline measure in SSAILD and add a secondary All SCQF measure. 

Next steps include communicating this to users and prepare for reporting on this basis from 2024 onwards, including:

  • seeking ministerial approval
  • updating users
  • publishing NQ-only and All SCQF measure for 2022-2023 school leavers in 2024 and going forward. Including 
  • clear definitions of each measure
  • historic time series
  • analysis of drivers of change
  • analysis allowing examination of LA variation

If SEC members would like further information or contact details in relation to any of the updates contact the CAB Secretariat at 

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