Strategic Board for Teacher Education minutes: January 2017

Minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Board for Teacher Education, held on 18 January 2017.

Attendees and apologies


  • Clare Hicks - Scottish Government
  • Michael Wood - ADES
  • Tim Wallace - AHDS
  • Kathy Cameron - COSLA
  • Alan Armstrong - Education Scotland
  • Susan Quinn - EIS
  • Ken Muir - GTCS
  • Barrie Sheppard - NPFS
  • Gillian Hamilton - SCEL
  • Barbara Coupar - SCES
  • Jim Thewliss - SLS
  • Seamus Searson - SSTA
  • Morag Redford - SCoDE
  • Khadija Mohammed - University of West of Scotland
  • Stuart Robb - Scottish Government
  • Helen Reid - Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

1. Clare Hicks welcomed everyone to the fifth meeting of the Strategic Board for Teacher Education. Apologies were received from Margaret Lannon. Clare welcomed Khadija Mohammed to the meeting as she was giving a presentation on Diversity in the Teaching Profession.

Previous minutes and matters arising

2. The minutes of the meeting of 26 October 2016 were agreed as circulated. Action 01/02 about BME representation in the teaching profession was a long standing issue however meetings are on-going between the Scottish Government and stakeholders and our next meeting will be with universities. Other action points are on the agenda for this meeting.


3. The Scottish organising group for ISTP have done a lot of work with the Department for Education and other partners. Ken Muir and Gillian Hamilton informed the group that they were involved in planning the pre-summit activities which will be visits to local schools.

4. The Consultation on the Governance Review which closed on 16 January received 1100 responses. Regional events were also held which attracted approx. 700 individuals and the SG will now analyse responses. The pre-election period for local government elections begins on 16 March and therefore a decision on any potential announcement will need to be taken before then.

5. At the end of December 2016, the refreshed National Improvement Framework (NIF) 2017 was published and this Board’s interest is in Teacher Professionalism and overseeing the project on evidence relating to the content analysis of ITE which is due to be completed in April.

6. ADES’s Report on Headteacher Recruitment was published in September 2016. The Working Group has met and is co-chaired by SG and COSLA. An Action Plan will be produced by June.

7. SG is funding a project on Research into the Quality of Initial Teacher Education (SBTE/05/07)

8. There is a SG Consultation on Draft Head Teacher Training Standards (Scotland) Regulations and Clare Hicks urged local authorities to give their views as the employers.

9. Ken Muir informed the group that the BEd Music programme was now run by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

10. The GTCS has designed a suite of Professional Learning Awards, which will sit alongside those related to the Standards and Professional Registration, and will be beneficial in encouraging a culture of enquiry.

11. All teachers in the Independent sector will have to be registered with the GTCS and they are currently doing an audit with SCIS on these individuals. In relation to the Review of Professional Standards, a draft of the revised Standards will be issued by March 2018. The Code of Professionalism and Conduct needs a complete refresh and there will be a consultation in March 2018 to be completed by January 2019.

Diversity in the teaching profession

12. Khadija Mohammed, from the University of the West of Scotland, has been researching BME in teaching since 2006 and gave her presentation.

This is a summary of her Phd study.

Title: ‘It’s not a glass ceiling for us… it’s a concrete ceiling!’ - Experiences of Minority Ethnic Teachers: negotiating their personal and professional identities

This study examines minority ethnic teachers’ perceptions of their personal and professional identities. It contributes to understanding of why some teachers don't feel comfortable expressing their personal identities to avoid being seen as the 'race person' and in doing so, it questions perceptions on the recruitment, retention and promotion of Minority Ethnic teachers.
Ladson-Billings (2005) asks ‘is the team all right?’ and asserts a need to understand how minority ethnic teachers negotiate their professional identities. Whilst schools can be important sites for children and young people to encounter social justice, so too, are they sites for teachers to encounter social justice. Yet some minority ethnic teachers appear to feel confident in utilising their cultural and linguistic skills while others choose to assimilate in order to ‘fit in’. This potentially oppresses minority ethnic teacher’s identity.
Framed in Critical race Theory, this research draws on qualitative research conducted with minority ethnic teachers from Scotland. Focus groups enabled their responses to be analysed, in order to explore their experiences and perceptions of their contribution to the profession. It was also important to seek their views on responding to the needs of the minority ethnic children they teach and whether they felt that their cultural, religious and linguistic skills were of benefit to all the children they teach. This study concludes that if we are serious about equality and social justice there are underpinning issues about the identities of minority ethnic teachers that require further exploration.

13. Susan Quinn said that resolutions from the EIS AGM have asked for more work to be done on diversity in the teaching profession and their education committee are looking at under-representation in the profession. The EIS thought that from their evidence, the greater concern was not how to attract more BME students into teaching but how to support BME teachers who were already in the workforce.

14. There followed a general discussion on how to encourage more BME school pupils to think about teaching and on the role of positive role models to get into schools to promote teaching and to see leadership opportunities. The Board also discussed the links with teaching in the Catholic sector as they have had similar experience. The Board agreed that a small working group should be established to consider the range of factors that are involved in the under-representation of BME groups in teaching. Barbara Coupar said she was happy to be sit on the working group and Seamus Searson would also like to be involved.

Action – working group to be established. Barbara Coupar and Seamus Searson to be involved.

Innovative Routes to Teaching

15. Morag Redford spoke to this item explaining that all their proposals had been approved by SG and now universities are working on the details of courses. There was a discussion on the practicalities of the new routes where concern was raised about starting dates for courses and also the University of Dundee’s “fast track” route. The EIS voiced concern that there was potential for a 2-tier system as there would be students who were in paid employment in school-based training and those that were not. SCDE said that these changes are necessary to recruit more STEM teachers and they would welcome a discussion with the Professional Associations to identify issues.

16. The Board agreed that there are potential challenges in introducing the new routes however universities and other education partners are keen to find a Scottish solution to the issue of teacher recruitment.

17. Clare Hicks said that the new routes involve a small number of students so it is important to keep this in perspective. However, it is understandable that the SNCT will want to assess what issues will impact on areas that fall under the SNCT’s remit.

Action – SG to facilitate discussion on student placements with GTCS.

EU Project (TeachUp)

18. Ken Muir introduced this item by explaining there are two aspects to this project, what is required in ITE programmes in the future and the potential of using new technologies in ITE. The GTCS have been invited as an external partner and are the only body from the UK. Kay Livingston is overseeing the project.

Funding for Into Headship Cohort 1

19. Stuart Robb spoke to this item saying the SG has now received responses from all local authorities and as the SG has already made clear, the previously agreed arrangements would remain in place and the SG would not be providing additional funding to reimburse the fees of participants from Cohort 1. Jim Thewliss said it was outrageous that this cohort had applied in good faith however they are now being penalised.

Excellence in Headship

20. Gillian Hamilton introduced this by explaining that the Working Group met in December 2016 to agree the key themes for the programme and this will be considered further at the next meeting of the Advisory Group. It is anticipated that there would be a cohort of 150 each year but this could be flexible. It is expected that the programme will be up and running by 1 April.

Workforce planning/recruitment campaign

21. It was noted that here has been a change to the workforce planning process this year in that it started earlier and additional information has been put into the model. The recommendation of the Workforce Planning Advisory Group has been to increase secondary student intake targets by 400 in while maintaining the primary target at more or less the same level as in the previous year It was noted that there would likely be a downward trend in in primary intake targets in future years to reflect pupil projections. It was also noted that this year the universities would be attempting to come together to agree between how best the additional places should allocated. The universities were due to meet on 10 January.

Recruitment campaign

22. Clare Hicks explained that it is proposed that teacher recruitment will be a multi-year campaign and this year it will have a focus on undergraduates. In future years it will target other groups with different messages. The challenge of addressing flexibility in regard to recruitment was discussed and it was noted that the SCDE will be meeting to discuss this.

Date of next meeting

23. Wednesday 10 May 2017, 10.00am. It was requested that papers are issued one week before the meeting.


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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