Strategic Board for Teacher Education minutes: November 2017

Minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Board for Teacher Education held on 9 November 2017.

Attendees and apologies


  • Clare Hicks - Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Kathy Cameron - COSLA
  • Barbara Coupar - SCES
  • Gillian Hamilton - SCEL
  • Margaret Lannon - SCIS
  • Ken Muir - GTCS
  • Susan Quinn - EIS
  • Morag Redford - SCoDE
  • Stuart Robb - Scottish Government
  • David Roy - Scottish Government
  • Kelly Ireland - Scottish Government
  • Seamus Searson - SSTA
  • Michael Wood - ADES
  • Scott Brand - Scottish Government (Secretary)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

1. The Board welcomed Kelly Ireland to the meeting. Apologies were received from Alan Armstrong, Barrie Sheppard and Tim Wallace.

Previous minutes

2. The minutes of the meeting of 15 September 2017 were agreed as being accurate.

Matters arising

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

a) Further nominations for the Short-Life Working Group on Professional Learning were requested. Seamus Searson, Morag Redford and Barbara Coupar all expressed an interest in joining the group and this was noted along with earlier interest from Susan Quinn and Tim Wallace.
b) The next Teacher Workforce Planning Group in December would discuss widening their remit to include succession planning for headteachers.
c) Scottish Government had sent a response to the Education Committee following their report on Teacher Workforce Planning for Scotland’s Schools. This had been circulated to the Board along with a link to other organisations responses.
d) Papers for information had been circulated on the Short-Life Working Group on BME under-representation in the teaching workforce and flexibility around ITE entry requirements.

Governance arrangements

4. Clare Hicks informed the Board that the Scottish Government had announced the establishment of the new Scottish Education Council to oversee our work to improve education in Scotland. This will mean closing the Curriculum for Excellence Management Board and its supporting structures i.e. the CfE Implementation Group and Assessment and National Qualifications Group; as well as the National Improvement Framework Strategic Group and the Scottish Attainment Challenge Advisory Group. In their place, the tier beneath the Council will now comprise the new Curriculum and Assessment Board and the existing Strategic Board for Teacher Education.

5. The Scottish Education Council will be accountable to Ministers. It will have strong links to both the Curriculum and Assessment Board and the Strategic Board for Teacher Education. It is expected that the Council will have a standing agenda item to consider issues being discussed by the Boards and may (when requested by the Boards) provide input and advice to Board papers. The Council may also seek the advice of either Board on particular issues of interest. The Boards will not however be accountable to the Council – they will be directly accountable to Ministers. An Education Leaders’ Forum will also be established to gather the views of wider stakeholders on development of the Scottish education system, and to inform the work of the Council and the two Boards. This Forum will meet twice yearly.

7. The Strategic Board agreed that a workplan should be developed based around the 2 key NIF drivers (teacher professionalism and school leadership). The Board would also consider subject specific professional learning policy developed by other groups. SCEL were also carrying out scoping work in this area that could be shared with the Board. The Board asked for a diagram showing the different groups and sub-groups and their linkages.

8. Clare Hicks added that the Board was a collaborative and members were encouraged to bring forward items and papers for discussion. Membership would also be expanded to contain a Regional Improvement Collaborative lead.

Action: It was agreed that the Board would consider a workplan at their next meeting based on the key NIF drivers.

Action: Appoint RIC Lead to Board.

Action: A diagram illustrating the new structure will be circulated.

Education Bill Consultation

9. Clare Hicks introduced this item and explained that the Bill’s key themes are:

  • establishing a Headteachers’ Charter to define their responsibilities as leaders of learning in schools and set out the support they can expect
  • providing the legislative underpinning for the Regional Improvement Collaboratives
  • improving parental and community engagement in school life and learning
  • strengthening the voice of children and young people, promoting and supporting pupil participation.
  • establishing an Education Workforce Council to take on the responsibilities of the General Teaching Council for Scotland and the Community Learning and Development Standards Council and to register other education professionals

10. The formal consultation will run for 12 weeks, closing on the 30th January. Additionally the Government will undertake an engagement process with stakeholders. The Bill which will be introduced before the end of the current parliamentary year (i.e. by June 2018).

11. The Board made the following comments:

  • consultation period very tight due to time of year
  • need to encourage a wide a range of professionals including those in further and higher education to respond
  • Headteacher Recruitment Working Group should be reconvened now that the consultation has been published – this was agreed

ITE Intakes 2017/18

12. Stuart Robb introduced this item and made the following points:

  • the final figures will be published week beginning 13 November
  • primary targets met
  • secondary targets not met
  • new routes into teaching has led to a 7% increase in student numbers over last year
  • vacancies in schools have increased by around 100 (although it was noted this was a snap shot survey)

13. It was noted that universities had recruited similar numbers to last year while also introducing new routes into teaching that had added to overall numbers but had made little progress in increasing secondary targets. There was concern that the vacancy figures had been skewed due to Pupil Equity Funding being used to recruit staff and more sophisticated reporting was needed. Local authorities were encouraged to offer permanent contracts and give teachers more security. It was agreed that a strong narrative needed to be developed emphasising the low vacancy rate nationally and in comparison to other sectors.

14. David Roy updated the Board on new routes into teaching. He made the following points:

  • most routes now started
  • over 200 students involved and this exceed target
  • related initiatives such as Edinburgh MSc and PGDE Internships were also proving beneficial
  • Government tender for a new route into teaching closes on 16 November
  • bursaries of £20,000 open to STEM career-changers next year

15. The GTCS said that other routes such as use of spouses of military personnel and developing an ITE programme for computer coders were also contributing to teacher recruitment. Teacher recruitment challenges were a global issue and Scotland was demonstrating innovation in addressing this issue

Action: The Board agreed that the Teaching in Scotland website show more information on the new routes into teaching and linked to the GTCS and myjobscotland websites.

University Self-Evaluation of ITE Programmes

16. Gillian Hamilton introduced this item and made the following points:

  • the Deputy First Minster had written to Heads of Schools of Education explaining that Education Scotland had been invited to develop a Framework in conjunction with universities and GTCS
  • quality indicators being developed and a meeting to discuss these was being organised
  • draft framework expected by end 2017 and piloted early 2018 with a view to final version being available by April 2018

17. Morag Redford added that:

  • universities would have appreciated being consulted before the letter issued
  • resistance to quality assurance processes being supplemented by a national body
  • Edinburgh University already running a longer term project to develop quality indicators in ITE (MQuite).

18. Members added that this was an opportunity to showcase university work and that the framework should not impinge on current individual quality assurance processes. Equality should be a key priority for the Framework. The Board agreed that this should be about co-creation and all stakeholders wanted a positive outcome. Scottish Government also confirmed that quality assurance processes in universities remained integral.

Use of Distance Learning to respond to teacher shortages

19. Stuart Robb introduced this paper and said that the potential benefits of distance learning needed to be further investigated. The Board made the following points:-

  • University of Glasgow researching on-line learning and will report in summer 2018
  • need to ensure this initiative is not profit driven
  • broadband connectivity is still variable
  • on-line learning is not the most effective way to develop pupils social skills
  • good to know what teachers think of the pedagogy challenges and opportunities
  • Further/Higher Education have been using on-line learning for some time and we need to learn from them

20. The Board agreed that further research be conducted in this area.

Speaking engagements at fee-charging conferences

21. This agenda item was briefly discussed at the last meeting of the Board. Gillian Hamilton explained that private companies were contacting individuals and asking them to speak at fee-charging conferences. The companies were not offering a fee to speakers. The Board agreed that individual organisations would decide their own policy in this area and most were likely to decline any approaches. There did seem to be a demand for policy conferences and the Board agreed that the Short-life Working Group on Professional Learning would look to consider how best to put together a national programme.

Action: Consider a national programme of policy conferences as part of the work on professional learning now underway.

Student placements

22. Ken Muir introduced this paper and made the following points:-

  • technical capacity of SPS very impressive and system arranges 18,000 placements
  • issues are around student travel time and when placements are decided
  • some programmes have very complex placement arrangements
  • better awareness and understanding of system is needed by university, LA and school staff

23. The Board agreed that universities should be encouraged to review their placement structures. GTCS will consider placements models as part of the accreditation process for courses.


24. Ken Muir confirmed that the GTCS will review ITE Entry Requirements next year.

Date of future meetings

25. The date of the next meeting is Wednesday 21 February, 10.00 am – 12.00 noon, Conference Room 3, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh.


No Task
1 Arrange meeting of the Short-Life Working Group on Professional Learning SG
2 Produce a workplan for the Board at their next meeting based on the key NIF drivers. SG
3 Appoint RIC Lead to Board. SG
4 A diagram showing the new structure should be circulated SG
5 SG to revise the Teaching in Scotland website to show more information on the new routes into teaching and link to the GTCS and myjobscotland websites. SG
6 Further research is conducted in the area of distance learning to address teacher shortages. SG
7 Consider a national offer of policy conferences SCEL/ES


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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