Strategic Board for Teacher Education minutes: September 2017

Minutes of the meeting of the Strategic Board for Teacher Education, held on 15 September 2017.

Attendees and apologies


  • Clare Hicks - Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Alan Armstrong - Education Scotland
  • Clare Furze - Scottish Government
  • Gillian Hamilton - SCEL
  • Margaret Lannon - SCIS
  • Ken Muir - GTCS
  • Susan Quinn - EIS
  • Morag Redford - SCoDE
  • Stuart Robb - Scottish Government
  • David Roy - Scottish Government
  • Seamus Searson - SSTA
  • Barrie Sheppard - NPFS
  • Tim Wallace - AHDS
  • Scott Brand - Scottish Government (Secretary)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

1. The Board welcomed Clare Furze to the meeting. Apologies were received from Kathy Cameron and Barbara Coupar.

Previous minutes

2. The minutes of the meeting of 10th May 2017 were agreed as being accurate.

Matters arising

3. Points from the previous meeting had been actioned as follows:

  • Rowena Arshad has agreed to chair a sub-group on BME under-representation
  • ISTP website and presentation links were circulated
  • ITE Content Analysis report news release circulated
  • comments on ‘National Framework Protocol for Partnership in Teacher Learning’ given to Moyra Boland but consideration will need to be given on how this document relates to the new Regional Improvement Collaboratives

4. No comments were offered on the papers for information.

Coherence in Professional Learning

5. Gillan Hamilton introduced this paper, stating its aim was to consider coherence and duplication within the professional learning landscape following the Governance Review. The paper suggested a sub-group which Education Scotland could chair to look at guidance, access, delivery and accreditation of professional learning with the aim of ensuring clarity and coherence at a national level.

6. Points raised in discussion included: the role that other partners had to play in professional learning; the importance of what was currently available outside of Education Scotland was not lost and that professional associations could help secure teacher buy-in; universities were more than a provider and needed to be an active voice in professional learning; and that the Professional Learning Network that included local authority officers could be used in this exercise.

7. The Board acknowledged the transformation of Education Scotland that was required following the Governance Review in particular how it supported schools and teachers through Regional Improvement Collaboratives. The Board also noted that in order achieve greater coherence and clarity that the proposed short life working group should consider the current policy context and on-going initiatives and work with existing networks to reflect on teachers’ views on professional learning.

8. The Board agreed to the proposed actions in the paper and the Secretariat will establish a short-life working group, chaired by Gillian Hamilton, and members agreed to contact the secretariat if they wished to be involved.

Education and Skills Committee – teacher workforce planning for Scotland’s schools

9. Clare Hicks reported that the Scottish Parliament Education and Skills Committee had published their report on Teacher Workforce Planning for Scotland’s Schools. The Board made the following comments: that while some recommendations were worthwhile some of the recommendations were unrealistic e.g. GTCS providing advice to unsuccessful applicants to ITE providers; questioned the evidence base used for this report and the committee’s understanding of the system; the lack of costing of recommendations; and why the EIS had not been asked to give evidence.

10. SCoDE would formally respond to the Committee questioning evidence base and understanding of the system e.g. ASN is a key part of all programmes and additional modules are there to allow building on core skills and knowledge. However, it was recognised that universities had areas for development.

11. The Scottish Government would provide a response to the Committee considering its recommendations. Where recommendations refer to members of the board officials will be in touch to consider how responses should be framed.

Action: It was also agreed that the secretariat circulate partner organisations’ responses in advance of the next Board meeting.

12. The Scottish Government were asked if the Teacher Workforce Planning Group remit could be revised to include workforce planning for headteachers. This was felt necessary in light of the move to mandatory holding of the Standard for Headship for newly appointed headteachers. It was raised that we need to keep remits and evidence clearly defined.

Action – Scottish Government to consider revising remit of TWP WG to include workforce planning for headteachers.

Initial teacher education intakes 2017/18 and new routes into teaching

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

  • figures shown were as at 1 September and would not be finalised until October
  • numbers were significantly below target
  • figures for new routes is probably under reported and the Scottish Government will pursue this with providers

13. The Board discussed the high number of applicants but low number of acceptances. It was explained that the UCAS scheme gives 5 choices to applicants and many will select more than one university so a large element of double counting in the applications. It was agreed that this figure needs to be better refined.

14. How providers were interpreting and dealing with entry requirements was raised. It was suggested that a statement from the GTCS setting out the flexibility currently available would strengthen the hand of Schools of Education when dealing with admissions departments. Potential students need to know that they can build their required academic qualifications during their programme. The Board further discussed the pros and cons of altering entry requirements including the risk of lowering the overall quality of the profession.

15. Issues with national pay and conditions were discussed along with workload due to issues with supply cover. Both of these factors fed into negative media stories about teaching and teachers which could also be a factor in recruitment.

16. Recent GTCS research into teachers lapsed from the register found that some were tempted to teach abroad for higher salaries. Also many who went to rural areas did not stay in that area for a significant period of time. Overall, traditional routes were not attracting enough potential teachers and the new routes based around university PGDE programmes were to be welcomed.

17. Michael Wood updated the Board on 2 projects that the University of Dundee were taking forward. The first is the Learn to Teach project that allows local authority staff who have degrees the opportunity to gain a teaching certificate. The staff are released part-time to study at university and for school placements. The university is working with around 14 local authorities. The other project is the Supported Induction Route which involves a secondary programme for STEM teachers running from January to January and covering both ITE and Induction. The student teacher spends 4 days in school and 1 in university together with a summer school at the university.

Action – Paper to the next Board covering information on new routes, numbers involved and entry requirements.

Attracting High-Quality Graduates into Teaching – tender specification

18. David Roy updated the Board on progress with this initiative. He said the tender specification was nearing completion and the aim of this was to broaden and expand the routes into teaching and attract high-quality graduates who would not otherwise have thought of a career in teaching. This particular project was attracting negative media attention. The successful bidder would need to work in partnership with a university and require GTCS accreditation of their programme. This would be a small scale pilot.

19. The Board made the following points: there are already several pilots operating and these should be evaluated before an additional route is tendered for; a university without a School of Education could be a partner in a bid; the EIS had agreed a resolution at their AGM opposing any fast-track into teaching; alternative routes used elsewhere in the UK had been shown to be expensive with low retention rates; the universities were fully committed to developing new routes and did not have any intention of partnering with organisations outside of Scotland; safeguards had been built in to the tender specification to ensure that it complied with what Ministers had said publicly and not as media had been reporting; and the specification should go public later this month.

20. The Board agreed that students interested in teaching need information in one place on the various routes offered by ITE and entry requirements flexibility.

Student placements

22. The effectiveness of the Student Placement System was raised. There was particular concern around schools rejecting allocations and the system not matching when schools were offering places. The GTCS were unaware of these concerns and thought that the opt-out was working well while the Placement Management Group was meeting that afternoon. Both universities and local authorities needed to play their part for the system to be most effective.

Action: The PMG will consider these issues and report back to the Board at their next meeting.


23. The issue of accepting speaking engagements at fee charging conferences was discussed. The Board were of the opinion that where companies were organising conferences for profit then colleagues should not accept speaking engagements.

Action: The Board agreed to consider this issue further at the next meeting.

Date of future meetings

24. Meetings arranged for:

  • 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


No Task Member
1 Establish Short-life Working Group on Professional Learning Scott Brand
2 SG to consider expanding remit of Teacher Workforce Planning Group to including headteachers Stuart Robb
3 Consider SBTE response to Education Committee Report on Teacher Workforce Planning for Scotland’s Schools Stuart Robb
4 Paper for next meeting on new routes into teaching David Roy
5 Update at next meeting on Student Placements Morag Redford/Ken Muir
6 Agenda item for next meeting on convention of speaking at fee charging conferences 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)

Back to top