Strategic Board for Teacher Education minutes: February 2018

Minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Board for Teacher Education, held on 21 February 2018.

Attendees and apologies


  • Clare Hicks - Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Alan Armstrong - ES
  • Dougie Atkinson - VOICE
  • Barbara Coupar - SCES
  • Laurence Findlay - RICs
  • Robert Hair - AHDS
  • Kevin Hanlon - Scottish Government
  • Margaret Lannon - SCIS
  • Ken Muir - GTCS
  • Jane Peckham - NASUWT
  • Susan Quinn - EIS
  • Morag Redford - SCoDE
  • David Roy - Scottish Government
  • Seamus Searson - SSTA
  • Lesley Whelan - SCEL
  • Michael Wood - ADES
  • Scott Brand - Scottish Government (Secretary)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

  1. The Board welcomed Dougie Atkinson, Laurence Findlay, Kevin Hanlon and Jane Peckham to their first meeting. Apologies were received from Kathy Cameron and Barrie Sheppard. Lesley Whelan was substituting for Gillian Hamilton.

Previous minutes

  1. The minutes of the meeting of 9 November 2017 were agreed as being accurate.

Matters arising

  1. A number of points from the previous meeting were discussed:

Arrange meeting of the Short-Life Working Group on Professional Learning

The Group has met once and a subset of the group will meet again on 27 February to draft national guidance. The plan is to agree this at their meeting on 23 March before sending onto the SBTE.

Consider a national offer of policy conferences

This will be addressed in the report from the Short-Life Working Group on Professional Learning

A map showing the new structure should be circulated

A map is still to be agreed and will be circulated at a later date.

Revisions have been made to the website including links to related websites.

Further research is conducted in the area of distance learning to address teacher shortages.

A proposal is being developed and discussions are planned between the Scottish Government, the University of the Highlands and Island and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Council.

New Working Arrangements for SBTE (SBTE/09/03,09/04,09/05&09/06)

  1. The remit paper was discussed. It now showed the broader membership and the link to the Scottish Education Council. It was emphasised that the Scottish Government facilitated the Board but that members needed to influence the Board and contribute to the agenda.

  2. The following points were raised about the remit:

  3. it should include the Teacher Induction Scheme and Flexible Route at section 6

  4. the membership should be adjusted to reflect SCEL being incorporated into Education Scotland
  5. a communications strategy needs to be developed to highlight the work of the Board

  6. The Board agreed the other papers and noted that the Work Plan was in draft. Members were invited to contribute to the draft being developed by the Scottish Government.

Action: All Members

Career pathways

  1. This was an oral item. It was recognised that the broad membership of the SBTE had specific interests in the development of new career pathway models for the teaching profession. The purpose of considering these new models was to improve learning and teaching and to help with the recruitment and retention of teachers. It was recognised that ultimate decisions on the terms, conditions and potential remuneration of any new career pathways fell to the SNCT but the wider views of the education system should feed into the design and development of new models and the SBTE were well placed to support this.

  2. Potential pathways could include curriculum specialists, transition teachers, and experts in pedagogy, support for learning, pastoral care and leadership. It would be important to take into account employer and system needs and teachers’ wishes. New pathways should open up routes for promotion and professional learning and give support to teachers. There were international models already in existence in Australia, Canada and Singapore and we should learn from the previous Chartered Teacher Scheme in Scotland and why this was not ultimately successful. Approaches to selection criteria and additional professional standards would need to be developed.

  3. It was suggested that a clearer understanding of where masters qualifications fit into new pathways would be welcome. It was felt that an understanding of masters learning is already embedded in the leadership pathways and something similar for teachers CLPL is needed. Universities would be able to assist with this.

  4. The context within which the development of pathways is taking place needs to be set out. This should include the National Improvement Framework and highlight recruitment and retention issues while also recognising the direct link to terms and conditions. It will also have to take on board the expected direction of travel in the forthcoming Education Bill.

  5. This issue would be discussed at the next SNCT extended Joint Chairs where they would look to agree a process which allows for wider involvement. There was broad agreement that this is potentially a hugely positive step forward and there is a need to engage meaningfully with all stakeholders and the profession, learning lessons from the current approach on the leadership pathway. Clare Hicks agreed to provide a written update to the Board on the process agreed through SNCT Joint Chairs and to highlight how they can be involved.

Action: Clare Hicks

Self-Evaluation Framework for ITE Providers (SBTE/09/08)

  1. The Board discussed the update paper (SBTE/09/08). It was noted that the Working Group had been asked to ensure that the Framework was linked to current GTCS and university accreditation processes and did not add to bureaucracy. It was felt that the input in ITE (university teaching) was quality assured but that measuring the quality of output was the challenge. It was agreed that the Framework specifically addresses the key theme of equality.

  2. The Board noted that the quality of newly qualified teachers was an issue that was increasingly being highlighted in the media and by organisations represented on SBTE and the Framework should assist in this debate. The Board further acknowledged that ITE cannot address every aspect of a teacher’s skills and knowledge. It was only the beginning of a process involving the probation period and early phase of a teacher’s career. The newly established Regional Improvement Collaboratives along with universities should work to ensure more connection between the different stages of a teacher’s career and their professional learning.

1+2 Languages Implementation Group (SBTE/09/09)

(Louise Glen and Toria Fraser joined the meeting for this item)

  1. Laurence Findlay and Louise Glen (Education Scotland) outlined progress with the policy of 1+2 languages in schools. They made the following points:

  2. entitlement in schools from 2021

  3. SG funding behind initiative
  4. challenge in up-skilling workforce and student teachers
  5. current provision is inconsistent between schools
  6. secondary sector not embracing policy and there is a decline in pupils sitting language exams; expectation is that S1 teachers build on pupil learning.
  7. primary model now about all teachers delivering languages rather than traditional use of secondary specialist
  8. CLPL available and need to establish learning networks including ITE providers
  9. teachers need to have a minimum level of competence in languages

  10. The importance of teacher confidence and capability was raised with some members highlighting difficulties with some teachers accessing professional learning and the quality of that learning.

  11. The policy is ambitious and a measure of pragmatism was needed. It was a logistical challenge to deliver a range of languages in primary schools of differing sizes. Local authorities also had different languages as priorities. There was a view, expressed by some members of the Board, that not all primary teachers will be able to teach languages. Guidance on what is delivered at different stages of primary was needed and assurances that what was being looked for was learning basics rather than fluency in languages. The Scottish Government have provided £27.2m to local authorities in funding for this initiative. Separately SCILT and the Open University have developed a programme for the teaching workforce. There are two elements to the programme, the SCILT element is free while there is a cost to the Open University element which local authorities can use their funding for.

  12. The Board agreed that this discussion highlighted the need for the Board to consider possible changes to entry requirements and more generally what type of primary teacher was now needed in schools. Was this a generalist with language skills or specialists in areas such as languages and STEM? National workforce planning now also took into consideration local pressures and this could look at specialists in the primary sector. The link to the earlier discussion on career pathways for teachers was highlighted and linkages should be made. that allowed for professional learning in languages needs to be considered.

Action: Board to consider broad questions around the role of entry requirements and the skills of primary teachers.

International Summit on the Teaching Profession (SBTE/09/10)

  1. It was agreed that the update paper would be revised to highlight the efforts being made in Scotland to incentivise professional learning.

Action: SG to redraft part of the commitments paper.

MyPL Update (SBTE/09/11)

  1. MyPL was now in its 2nd phase of piloting. This involved testing compatibility with other systems i.e GATEWAY and SOPRA and developing its Management Information functionality. It was raised that MyPL needed to link with the Framework for Educational Leadership to ensure teachers had easy access to this valuable resource.

Action: Ken Muir


Entry Requirements to ITE

  1. The issue of media reports on lowering of entry requirements was raised. The Board heard that there was a balance to be made in terms of entry/exit requirements. However, the exit requirement flexibility was only being applied to small number of students and it was expected that the university provider would ensure that they had adequate support. The GTCS would not give the Standard for Provisional Registration to students who had completed their programme until they met the full entry requirements.

Date of future meetings

  1. The date of the next meeting is Thursday 31 May, 10.00 am – 12.00 noon, Conference Room 2, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh.

Action Tracker

No. Action Update Lead
1 Circulate map of new Governance Structure structure not yet confirmed SB
2 Develop Work Plan Initial draft produced by Scottish Government All
3 Clare Hicks to write to SBTE to update them on process for developing career pathways Clare Hicks to raise issue with SNCT at next meeting CH
4 Further discussion on 1+2 languages Previous discussion flagged need to revisit entry requirements and type of primary teacher needed SB
5 Contribute to ISTP update paper Latest draft may not be showing all the work that is going on SB
6 Link MyPL and Framework for Educational Leadership Ken Muir to ask Project Team KM


Strategic Board for Teacher Education (SBTE)
c/o Scottish Government
Learning Directorate
Victoria Quay

Tel: 0131 244 4000 or 0300 244 4000 (for local rate throughout UK and for mobile)

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