Teacher Panel meeting minutes and papers: June 2022

Minutes and papers from the Teacher Panel meeting on 15 June 2022.

Items and actions


  • welcome and agreement of minutes from the last meeting
  • reforming qualifications and assessment – Prof Louise Hayward
  • Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme (REAREP)
  • any other business and close



Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills (Cab Sec), welcomed Teacher Panel members to the meeting and apologies were given on behalf of those unable to attend.

The minutes from the previous Teacher Panel meeting held on 16 March 2022 were agreed.

Reforming qualifications and assessment – Prof Louise Hayward

The Cab Sec introduced the first agenda item and provided some background to the discussion. She then handed over to Professor Louise Hayward (PLH) who introduced herself and expressed her thanks for the opportunity to share and develop her ideas with the panel members.

Using the Microsoft Teams ‘chat’ function, PLH asked the panel members to put themselves in the position of a pupil in the Senior Phase and give her one word that comes to mind when thinking of qualifications. These included exam, revision, memorising, pressure and results.

PLH then asked the panel members to do the same again, but this time to give her a word that they would like to be associated with qualifications. Suggestions included achieve, success, pride, adventure, readiness and recognition.

PLH stated that the point of the brief exercise was to illustrate the task that needs to be undertaken – how the world is perceived at present and how we would like it to be. Thinking of the future of young people and helping their transition from school to the next phase of their lives are crucial to our thinking. PLH informed the panel that although her independent review will take as a starting point both the OECD review and Ken Muir’s report, there is much more to consider.

Prior to the OECD’s review there were already concerns about the effect of qualifications on the Senior Phase e.g. the pressure placed on pupils, newspaper-constructed league tables and a narrowing of the curriculum. PLH also stated that economists are now predicting that more pupils will have more than one career throughout their lives. Furthermore, in wider society, technological advances etc. indicate a fast-changing world where our young people need to be ready to take a full role in society. How we go about this is vital and two key issues are emerging: putting learners at the centre of the education system and the need for a cultural change in education.

PLH advised panel members that these two issues were the starting point for the work being undertaken. She then outlined the Independent Review Group on the Reform of Qualifications and Assessment and its members, stressing that each member is not there to represent an organisation but to act as a link to a wider community collaborative group. The format of the group will help to ensure that those not normally heard in review processes will be part of the system. PLH then welcomed the panel members’ views on the paper and asked them to think through the role that the Teacher Panel could play in the process.

A number of points were raised by panel members:

  • although proud of the system, there is concern that some youngsters can feel disengaged with regard to the role of qualifications. Those of us within the system are working hard but may not be able to provide all necessary support to those who need it most
  • the work of PLH is very welcome and is music to our ears, but barriers are already starting to appear across Scotland. There are some colleagues who may not be in the correct mind-set for change and who will find excuses for not moving towards significant adjustments in the system. We can also foresee universities saying that exams are needed, so how do we change hearts and minds?

PLH acknowledged the interesting points being raised, confirming that her review needs to consider ways to gather dependable information that can be used into the next phase of the process. She also stated that part of the process being established is to give people the opportunity to think through the key issues. People need to engage with why we need change, not just what should change. If we end in a debate of exams = good versus exams = bad, then we will have failed. We need to consider that different approaches to assessment might work in different ways for different sets of people.

PLH then outlined the three groups broadly involved in the process: those for whom qualifications matter the most (pupils); those who design qualifications; and those who ‘use’ qualifications e.g. further education establishments, employers. She then confirmed that she has been meeting education spokespeople from each political party in order to think through the principles and options.

Cab Sec asked the panel members to suggest ways in which Scottish Government or the reform process can help to break down the barriers. Panel members subsequently made the following comments:

  • opportunities need to be provided to enable everyone, right down to classroom assistants, to participate in discussions – parents must be involved too. National events should be organised to allow these input opportunities, with school leaders fronting the conversation
  • we have to ensure that any cultural change is universally supported by universities, colleges and employers and that trust exists in the community. Currently young people’s achievements are not regarded as highly as they should be
  • this is an opportunity to re-frame success with regard to accessible curricular pathways. The disadvantage to pupils with additional support needs begins in primary school and the system does not allow teachers to demonstrate those pupils’ knowledge and understanding. This discussion will help make big strides towards trying to find more equality for our learners

In response to one of the comments made by the panel, PLH confirmed that she hopes to see events taking place within each school in the country so that, by the end of the process, no school should feel as though it was not actively engaged in helping the review group to think through the process.

Cab Sec then turned the discussion to how the Teacher Panel can be involved in the work of the Independent Review Group. PLH confirmed her wish to hear the members’ views given that the panel comprises teachers from different parts of the system. She confirmed three ‘asks’ of the panel:

  • consider the draft Vision and Principles document and confirm whether its content is consistent with how the panel members want things to proceed
  • reflect upon the options – their advantages and disadvantages – and identify any potential ‘bear traps’, and
  • look at the interim report and comment upon the extent to which you think the advice offered to the Cab Sec is consistent with what we set out to do

A number of comments were made:

  • panel members expressed an interest in helping, particularly through participation in sub-groups
  • members were keen to have more of a role in taking the conversation out to the next level, taking part in wider forums, before feeding back to the panel

PLH thanked the Teacher Panel for the rich and interesting conversation which had provided her with a number of ideas to help improve the work being undertaken. PLH confirmed that she would be keen to pursue a couple of areas in particular i.e. difficulties that can be anticipated and thinking around these to consider what lies behind particular positions and how we might work with people to encourage them to see the potential that a better future would offer everyone. PLH invited panel members to email her with any further ideas that they may have.

Cab Sec drew the discussion on this topic to a close, noting the complexities, challenges and significant opportunity that lie ahead.

Education reform

Prior to the introduction of the second agenda item, the Director for Education Reform (DER) took the opportunity to provide the Teacher Panel with an update on education reform activity.

DER confirmed that there will be further consultation and dialogue as legislation is prepared for the establishment of a new inspection body. Opportunities to be involved will take place during the next academic year, including stakeholder discussions chaired by the Cab Sec. DER will provide the Teacher Panel with an update later in the summer.

ACTION POINT (completed 23 June 2022): DER to share with the Teacher Panel a summary of the Cab Sec’s recent education reform update statement to Parliament.

Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme (REAREP)

Cab Sec introduced the second agenda item before handing over to Khadija Mohammed (KM), Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of the West of Scotland and a key member of the REAREP.

KM gave a short presentation to the Teacher Panel which focused on pupil voice, the context, the vision within REAREP and some ideas on sharing best practice. She flagged some notable themes, in particular:

  • teaching and learning e.g. black, Asian and minority ethnic pupils do not see their life experiences reflected in curriculum subjects
  • when things go wrong e.g. 51.3% strongly disagreed that teachers were knowledgeable about the processes to follow if a racist incident is reported
  • culture and inclusion

The presentation also introduced the remit of the Curriculum Reform Sub-group, including:

  • all of our learners and the people who support them will benefit from a curriculum, culture and ethos that reflects the diversity of the early learning and school community, Scotland and the wider world
  • the curriculum will include the historical influence on society and culture and the contribution of People of Colour and people with a radicalised identity in a positive and empowered way

One member of the Teacher Panel then gave an additional presentation which outlined the considerable racism and equalities work undertaken by their school over the course of a number of years. This work resulted from parental feedback which confirmed that racial bullying had been taking place, unbeknown to staff. Subsequent action taken by the school has included:

  • the establishment of a number of race equalities groups for pupils e.g. Racial Equalities Lunchtime Group, Muslim Girls Lunchtime Group and Duke of Edinburgh Inclusion Group (open to BPoC [Black People and People of Colour] girls [S2-S4])
  • a pilot equalities project run by Children in Scotland and Intercultural Youth
  • a cultural awareness session with staff, led by Intercultural Youth Scotland
  • staff equalities reading and working groups
  • a BPOC engagement session for parents (online and face-to-face)

The panel member outlined their school’s efforts to de-colonise the curriculum, recognising that things such as curriculum topics, books etc. needed to change. They outlined some of the challenges being faced, such as the SQA not quite being ‘there’ yet. Consequently, the SQA has now appointed a new post-holder to lead on the issue.

Cab Sec thanked both presenters and asked the rest of the panel for their comments/observations.

A number of points were raised by panel members:

  • one member stated that they had worked within multi-cultural schools in Croydon for a number of years, and had thrived by working in amongst so many different cultures. Now working in the west of Scotland they have noticed that there appears to be little desire to talk about racism or white privilege. As such there is a need to get to a place where it is okay to talk about these things and there is more that can be done in schools
  • it is important to acknowledge that many pupils come from schools that are not racially diverse so these conversations are even more important. Diversity is not represented by educators, so the diversity of the country needs to be reflected in teaching staff
  • a panel member referred to the valuable practitioner support of their local Development Education Centre, highlighting the DEC’s great level of knowledge, understanding and skills in anti-racism education
  • there is concern at the lack of children who are reporting racist incidents in schools – those incidents that are reported tend to have been witnessed by teachers. Work should therefore be done to empower children from ethnic backgrounds to know that it is their right to not experience racism

With regard to the reporting of incidents, KM stated that many young people of colour do not have safe spaces to report them and therefore do not report them to teachers. The resultant internalising of incidents can lead to racial trauma which in turn can lead to exclusion from school etc. Tokenistic acts such as schools celebrating Black History Month or the Chinese New Year can reinforce racist stereotypes. Colleagues should be supported to ensure that schools are places that are racially just, with policies that follow.


Cab Sec thanked the Teacher Panel members for another constructive discussion and wished them a restful and relaxing summer break after what has been another busy and difficult year.

Paper one - reforming qualifications and assessment - Prof Louise Hayward


This paper is intended as a background paper for the Teacher Panel to inform discussion in relation to the work of Professor Louise Hayward and the Independent Review Group on the Reform of Qualifications and Assessment.


The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills announced in October 2021 the intention to reform exams and national qualifications, to ensure learners’ achievements are fairly recognised and to afford each of them an enhanced and fair opportunity to demonstrate the width, depth and relevance of their learning.

Louise Hayward, Professor Emerita of Educational Assessment and Innovation at the University of Glasgow, is leading this work. Together with the Independent Review Group (IRG), Professor Hayward will consider how assessments and qualifications can be reformed to reflect what matters in Scottish education and ensure they meet the present and future needs and aspirations of all learners.

The work will take as its starting point a consideration and analysis of the recent OECD reports on CfE; prior engagement, research and the numerous consultation responses received as part of Professor Ken Muir’s work which relate to qualifications and assessment specifically; early engagement by Professor Hayward with colleagues from the Scottish Youth Parliament and Children’s Parliament; and relevant prior research and surveys of students, teachers and parents/carers on this subject.

Inclusive policy design

Two key themes in the report on the future of education bodies by Professor Ken Muir were:

  • the need to put learners at the centre of the education system
  • the need for cultural change within the system

Professor Hayward is keen to ensure that this review adopts ways of working that reflect and embody these two ideas. Professor Hayward has designed the review to promote an inclusive, participatory approach and will, in collaboration with the Independent Review Group (IRG), undertake significant stakeholder engagement, with a focus on ensuring the voices of young people are front and centre.

Independent review group

Professor Hayward has invited individuals from a range of backgrounds and experiences, including teachers and young people, to join the Independent Review Group (IRG). Members of the IRG are not invited to represent any group or organisation but as a link to a community.

Members of the IRG include:

  • those most directly concerned
    • students, parents and carers
  • those concerned with the design, development and delivery of courses leading to qualifications
    • teachers, lecturers and school leaders
    • examination board, awarding organisations, and regulatory authorities
    • local and national policy communities
  • those who use these qualifications as young people transition from school (colleges, employers and universities)
  • those with insights into specific and relevant research fields (including curriculum, assessment and qualifications, accountability, equality and social justice, national and international assessment systems, and sustainable change)

Each IRG member, drawing on their in-depth knowledge of the community with whom they work most closely, is invited to create a Collaborative Community Group (CCG). IRG members will ensure that these groups reflect the diversity of Scotland’s communities and learners.

Phases of the work

There will be three phases to the work. Each phase will involve information being shared between the IRG and the CCGs. Ideas will be developed in the IRG and then discussed with the CCGs. Feedback from CCGs will be reported to the IRG.

  • phase one: to develop a clear and shared Vision and Principles for assessment and qualifications in Scotland. (A draft Vision and draft Principles have been developed with colleagues from the Scottish Youth Parliament and the Children’s Parliament)
  • phase two: to develop options for putting the Vision and Principles into practice
  • phase three: to bring together the Vision, Principles and preferred options in an interim report

The evidence from responses to Phase Three will then be used to inform a final report that will be submitted to the Cabinet Secretary in March 2023.

Further consultation and engagement opportunities

In addition to the IRG and CCGs there will be further engagement including:

  • an opportunity for each secondary school, and college communities, to become involved
  • public engagement in different parts of Scotland

The Terms of Reference have been published on the Scottish Government website, and the IRG membership will also be published shortly.

Points for discussion

The Teacher Panel members were asked to consider the following:

  • we would welcome your views on the above
  • what role, if any, might the Teacher Panel play in this process?

Paper two - Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme (REAREP)


This short paper is intended to provide the Teacher Panel with some background information and key issues for consideration to support discussion on the Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education Programme (REAREP).

Khadija Mohammed (Senior Lecturer in Education at the University of the West of Scotland and Convenor of the GTCS) is a key member of the REAREP and will present to the panel on the purpose, ambition and progress of the work over the past two years and the plans for coming months. Views from Teacher Panel members will be hugely welcome and will help refine key issues and opportunities and support considerations on how to ensure teacher engagement in the developing programme.

The REAREP programme

The REAREP is led by the Scottish Government Learning Directorate and seeks to develop new and meaningful ways in which race equality and anti-racism can be fully recognised and understood and embedded within our education systems and practice in order to deliver improved outcomes for children, young people and educators.

The programme is structured into four work-streams: Educational Leadership and Professional Learning; Diversity in the Teaching Profession and Education Workforce; Curriculum Reform; and Racism and Racist Incidents. The synergies and interactions between the issues are recognised, as are transcending issues such as racial literacy, the voices of children and young people, the role of HMI and support for parents and carers.

Central to the REAREP is a commitment to centre the voices and perspectives of Black and minority ethnic children and young people, and to that end, a children and young people’s group has recently been established and is being managed by Show Racism the Red Card on the Scottish Government’s behalf. 

All four work-streams have a sub-group with membership and expertise from across ADES, GTCS, EIS, COSLA, Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE), RespectMe, BEMIS, CEMVO, CRER, Scottish Youth Parliament and Intercultural Youth Scotland. 

Priority areas and ambitions

Across the work-streams the following ambitions and outcomes are identified:

  • Scotland’s educators and leaders are confident, committed and empowered to promote equality, foster good relations and identify, prevent and deal with racism
  • as a result of understanding race in a school context, and by deploying skilled and passionate leadership they can empower and support an anti-racist culture across school communities
  • Scotland's education workforce reflects and supports the racial diversity of modern Scotland, thereby enriching the education experience for the whole school community
  • our learners and the people who support them will benefit from a curriculum, culture and ethos that reflects the diversity of the early learning and school community, Scotland and the wider world
  • the curriculum will include the historical influence on society and culture and the contribution of People of Colour and people with a racialised identity in a positive and empowered way
  • the role of Scotland and the UK in colonial history and the impact it has on the modern world will feature in teaching and learning to ensure our young people have an understanding and awareness of the British Empire and colonialism
  • a whole-school approach will provide education authorities, independent and grant-aided schools with clear advice and guidance on the issue of racism and racist incidents

Financial and other support from the Scottish Government and partners

Education Scotland is providing support to educators through its Building Racial Literacy programme and Promoting and Developing Race Equality and Anti-Racism in Education guidance online. Key posts are being funded to support professional learning, curriculum and assessment in Education Scotland, the GTCS and SQA. The Curriculum Reform work-stream has funding to support the implementation of their recommendations with a focus on a leadership post on an anti-racism curriculum, resources to help promote and embed race equality and anti-racism in subject-specific and whole-school contexts and encouraging young people-led learning and activity to highlight and embed anti-racism in schools and communities.

The Scottish Government is aware of a range of activity taking place in some local authorities, in particular Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde, focusing on race equality and anti-racism and an exercise is currently under way to capture emerging and good practice.

Points for discussion

The Teacher Panel is invited to discuss the following:

  • where would be the key opportunities and barriers from your perspective in realising these ambitions?
  • are you currently part of any professional learning or curriculum design activity relating to anti-racism?
  • what support does the sector need to meaningfully engage with and embed this programme of work?
  • how might this be aligned with other key priorities such as education reform and children’s rights?


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