Strategic Board for Teacher Education minutes: May 2017

Minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Board for Teacher Education, held on 10 May 2017.

Attendees and apologies


  • Stuart Robb - Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Alan Armstrong - Education Scotland
  • Kathy Cameron - COSLA
  • Barbara Coupar - SCES
  • Gillian Hamilton - SCEL
  • Margaret Lannon - SCIS
  • Ken Muir - GTCS
  • Susan Quinn - EIS
  • Morag Redford - SCoDE
  • David Roy - Scottish Government
  • Seamus Searson - SSTA
  • Barrie Sheppard - NPFS
  • Charlaine Simpson - GTCS
  • Tim Wallace - AHDS
  • Scott Brand - Scottish Government (Secretary)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

1. Stuart Robb welcomed everyone to the sixth meeting of the Strategic Board for Teacher Education and thanked the GTCS for hosting the meeting. Apologies were received from Jim Thewliss and Michael Wood. Stuart welcomed Charlaine Simpson to the meeting as she was introducing the paper on Content Analysis of Initial Teacher Education programmes.

Previous minutes and matters arising

2. The minutes were agreed as accurate.

Matters arising

3. Ken Muir said that the GTCS had decided to align the dates to revise the professional Standards and the Code of Professionalism and Conduct.

Diversity in the teaching profession

4. Stuart Robb said that the Scottish Government would establish the Working Group to consider the factors involved in the under-representation of BME groups within the next 2 weeks.

Action: Scottish Government

Student placements

5. Stuart Robb confirmed that the Scottish Government continued to have on-going dialogue with stakeholders regarding student placements.

Headteacher Recruitment Working Group

6. David Roy updated the Board on the work of the Headteacher Recruitment Working Group. He said that the Group should have an agreed action plan following their meeting in mid-June and this would be based on the ADES Report. He said that the actions would need to take cognisance of the Governance Review and that there would be SNCT implications.

Innovative routes into teaching

7. David Roy said that the Scottish Government had meet with unions and universities to discuss the innovative routes into teaching projects. The meeting was to allow better understanding of the effect on probation, placement and accreditation and seek agreement on how to tackle them. David was content to hold meetings with other stakeholders. Morag Redford added that the number of routes was now more than the original eleven and that the SCIS/UHI PGDE for those with provisional/conditional registration would be submitted for accreditation in September 2017. Ken Muir added that 3 projects had been accredited and others were scheduled for accreditation. Barbara Coupar said that the Glasgow University project involving training Irish students was only supplying two local authorities and needed to be widened as some stage possibly with on-line modules. David Roy said that this project was at a pilot stage and coverage of more local authorities would be an expectation. The Board agreed to place this item on the agenda for the next meeting.

Action: Scottish Government

International Summit on the Teaching Profession (Oral)

8. Stuart Robb said that the ISTP had been a successful event. It had shown that Scotland faced many of the same issues as that of other countries with higher performing education systems and also provided the opportunity for these countries to learn from us. Ken Muir said he had hosted delegations pre-Summit from Finland, Netherlands, Sweden and New Zealand. They had shown a genuine interest in our methods and were impressed by teaching practice that they saw in school visits. It was noted that there were few classroom teachers at the Summit but SCEL Fellows had met with delegates during dinner and at other functions. Gillian Hamilton noted that the direction of travel in terms of education policy between Scotland and England was markedly different.

9. Stuart Robb said that that unions and Scottish Government would meet to discuss priorities following the Summit and that he would arrange circulation of the link of the Summit website. Susan Quinn said the EIS would share videos of individual country presentations.

Action: Scottish Government, Susan Quinn

Governance Review (Oral)

10. Stuart Robb updated the Board on the Governance Review. He said that responses to the consultation were being analysed and that policy work on the next steps was also progressing. He added that an announcement on the next steps would be made in June and this would also cover schools funding formula. Susan Quinn said that it was unfortunate that SSLN results were being used to further push the need for reform. The Board agreed that timescales of any future consultations needed to take account of forthcoming school holidays.

Content Analysis of Initial Teacher Education programmes (SBTE/06/03)

11. Charlaine Simpson tabled a paper outlining the Content Analysis of ITE report she was working on. She made the following points:

  • it is a baseline study of hours allocated to specific key areas
  • it is a quantitative study and not qualitative
  • it does not contain university identifiers
  • ITE providers generally do not construct programmes around allocating hours to specific areas and see them as holistic in nature
  • difficult to draw comparisons between different programmes
  • PGDE subject specific content not included in the report
  • hours allocated to numeracy have the most consistency between and within programmes
  • students certainly having different experiences
  • conclusions not surprising

12. Morag Redford said that this was a challenging exercise for universities as they found it hard to unpick programmes and providers are different in their teaching approaches. Morag Redford added that this should be seen as a starting point to explore quality in ITE and that universities would welcome explaining what they offer.

13. Alan Armstrong said that we needed to measure output and set out what we expect of newly graduated teachers. Ken Muir said that there were huge expectations on ITE and that it was a complex area. He added that this would be the subject of intense media scrutiny.

14. David Roy said that despite its limitation the report told us more than we currently knew about ITE and confirms the view that there are differences within the system. A publication date had still to be agreed for the report but it was agreed to circulate the news release to the Board when it issued.

Action: Scottish Government

AHDS Survey on quality of students and probationers (SBTE/06/04)

15. Tim Wallace introduced this paper highlighting that the focus was on the primary sector and had been in response to correspondence with the Deputy First Minister Tim Wallace added that the report highlighted lack of skills and knowledge in areas such as ASN, literacy and classroom management and this was increasing the burden on established teachers.

16. Susan Quinn said that this tied in with wider staffing issues and that support for probationers was falling due to less management time for senior staff and Barrie Sheppard added that parents were reporting probationers teaching without supervision. Morag Redford felt that the survey had leading questions by asking for negative experiences.

17. Charlaine Simpson said that she is due to report soon on probationers’ views on their preparation and can look to triangulate results. Ken Muir added that we need to avoid unnecessary criticism of the university based system.

GTCS Research Report on Teachers Lapsing from the Register (SBTE/06/05)

18. Ken Muir introduced this paper. He made the following points:

  • 861 teachers aged between 21 and 45 lapsed from the Register in 2016
  • 317 were contacted for the purposes of the survey
  • main reasons for lapsing were job opportunity abroad, inability to secure a job and deciding to change career
  • many teachers had returned to Ireland and England
  • some visa issues for non-EU residents
  • some had bad experiences in probationer year
  • some expected to return to the profession

19. Susan Quinn said that there was still an issue around teachers wishing to hand pick which school they were to be assigned to. Another issue is around flexibility in employment patterns with many local authorities not able to agree to requests due to wider teacher shortages. Kathy Cameron added that travel was a factor for many teachers and added it was interesting that many were returning to Ireland as local authorities continued to try to recruit from there. David Roy felt that there were probably similar issues facing other professions.

Workforce Planning (SBTE/06/06)

20. Stuart Robb said that the Education Committee have established an Inquiry into Teacher Workforce Planning. Evidence sessions were planned from student teachers, probationers, established teachers, other stakeholders and the Deputy First Minster.

21. He added that the Board may want to support a positive narrative on these issues. Kathy Cameron said that there was a positive story around the supply teachers portal while Ken Muir said that Teach in Scotland was promoting positive stories on the profession. Gillian Hamilton added that career progression and learning opportunities needed to be highlighted while Seamus Searson said that teachers should talk up the job to pupils. However, he added that salary, workload and career structure all needed to be addressed while Ken Muir said daily supply pay rates could be a disincentive.

22. Christine Stephen said that a new factor for workforce planning was the early year’s sector and added that ITE programmes may need to be revised to support teachers in this field. Christine Stephen also asked if a new category of registration would be established for them.

23. David Roy said that over 4,000 places would be available for student teachers this year with 1,750 being in secondary subject. This would be a challenge for universities to recruit to and their planning processes would need to be effective. Alan Armstrong asked if we could consider ensuring prospective students have enough information on the various programmes on offer so a better match can happen.

SG Funding Offer to Partnerships for Masters Learning (SCQF Level 11) (SBTE/06/07)

24. David Roy informed the Board that the Scottish Government would be issuing a letter to the Partnerships later this month. The letter would say that £800,000 was being made available this financial year to all partnerships plus City & Guilds and the Royal Conservatoire. Bids would be sought covering the general priority areas. Morag Redford welcomed these new funds and said it would help partnerships build on previous investment and further develop joint university/ local authority provision.

National Framework Protocol for Partnership in Teacher Learning (SBTE/06/08)

25. David Roy introduced this draft paper. He said that it had been a recommendation of the evaluation of the impact of TSF that the Partnership Principles be reviewed. He said that Moyra Boland from the University of Glasgow had taken this forward and her brief had been to move from early phase to include CLPL and get the balance right between prescription and local ownership. Morag Redford said that it would be helpful to get the Board’s endorsement as it would support partnership working. Ken Muir said that an overt reference to student placements should be added as this was an area that needed significant collaboration. Susan Quinn said that the partners involved needed to be clarified and should mention LNCTs while Gillian Hamilton added that GTCS accreditation and SCEL endorsement needed to be mentioned. It was agreed to feed these comments back to Moyra Boland.

Action: Scottish Government


26. Stuart Robb said that two papers had been circulated for information and could be placed on the agenda for the next meeting if members wanted this. These were the Research Strategy for Scottish Education (SBTE/06/09) and Excellence in Headship Programme (SBTE/06/10). Gillian Hamilton added that at the time of the meeting 143 headteachers had signed up to the Excellence in Headship Programme with a number of local authorities still to confirm their allocation.

Date of future meetings

27. Meetings arranged for:

  • Friday 15 September, 10.00 am – 12.00 noon, Conference Room 2, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh
  • Thursday 9 November, 10.00 am – 12.00 noon, Conference Rooms 7 & 8, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh
  • Wednesday 21 February, 10.00 am – 12.00 noon, Conference Room 3, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh

Action: Scottish Government


No Task Member
1 Establish Working Group on BME under-representation Stuart Robb
2 Innovative Routes into Teaching to be on the agenda for the next meeting Scott Brand
3 Circulate link to ISTP website Stuart Robb
4 Circulate link to ISTP country presentations Susan Quinn
5 Circulate news release on Content Analysis of ITE report when it issues Scott Brand
6 Feedback comments to Moyra Boland on National Framework Protocol for Partnership in Teacher Learning Scott Brand
7 Arrange future meetings of the Board Scott Brand


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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