Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group: 28 June 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group held on 28 June 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Linda Brownlow, SCDE (Joint Chair)
  • Simon Cameron, COSLA
  • Greg Dempster, AHDS
  • Tracey Gillespie, SPDS
  • Gavin Lee, University of West of Scotland
  • Dave McGinty, SNCT Teachers Panel
  • Carrie McLennan, Universities Scotland
  • Pauline Stephen, GTCS
  • Morag Redford, Universities Scotland
  • Jim Thewliss, SLS
  • Michael Wood, ADES
  • Stephanie Walsh, Scottish Government
  • Alastair Anthony, Scottish Government
  • Huw Landrock, Scottish Government
  • Lorna McDonald, Scottish Government
  • Ann Hunter, Scottish Government


  • Elizabeth Horsburgh, SFC
  • Sarah Kirkpatrick, SFC
  • Stuart Robb, Scottish Government (Joint Chair)

Items and actions


Stephanie Walsh chaired this meeting in Stuart Robb’s absence. Pauline Stephen and Lorna McDonald were welcomed as new members to the group. 

Minutes of meeting on 11 November 2021 (Paper TWPAG/2021/1)

It was agreed that the minutes of the meeting of 11 November 2020 were an accurate record and will be published on the Scottish Government website.

The following was noted from the minutes:

  • GTCS registration status of teachers with a qualification enabling them to work in both primary and secondary (allowing flexibility in teacher employment) has been resolved
  • after considering all the factors involved and the advice of the Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group, John Swinney, the then Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, decided not to advise a further reduction in primary initial teacher education (ITE) by 200 but to maintain intakes as at 2020/2021 levels. This was on the grounds that pressures on the teaching workforce in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic may require additional teachers in the system moving forward. The guidance to the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) therefore recommended maintaining student teacher intakes at 2020/2021 levels, 4,070


Since the last meeting of the Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group (TWPAG), there has subsequently been substantial additional funding made available to local authorities for staffing to support education recovery and the manifesto commitments which will substantially increase numbers:

  • support the recruitment of 3,500 additional teachers and classroom assistants over the parliamentary term; part of which is to fund local authorities to increase teachers by 1,000 and classroom assistants by 500 in the first 100 days
  • reduce teacher’s class contact time by an hour and a half per week

The following was noted:

  • the focus of the TWPAG will be on the challenges of meeting the teacher numbers required over the course of the parliamentary term
  • action is required on how to deliver local, geographical and subject needed. COSLA would take forward with SPDS and ADES HR Colleagues

Analysis of Teacher Induction Scheme Cohorts 2016/2017 to 2019/2020 

(Paper TWPAG/2021/2)

Paper TWPAG/2021/2 sets out an analysis of post-probationer teacher employment. It showed the data collected in the school summary statistics about the type of employment post-probationers are securing on joining the workforce. There was a rise in those in temporary posts, particularly primary.

Discussion of the group

  • the local authority percentages in Table one of the paper were not comparable as they are dependent on the numbers who took up posts in that local authority. For example Argyll and Bute Council is smaller local authority than Glasgow City Council
  • funding in response to COVID-19 may play a part in the higher proportion of temporary primary employment and Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) also has a role
  • there is a mismatch between teacher recruitment difficulties and those not securing a post
  • it was noted that some subjects identified historically as having ITE recruitment difficulties e.g. home economics have a high level of permanent employment. While other subjects such as chemistry and physics show lower rates of permanent employment
  • there is a need to look at ways of engaging with individuals and local authorities about teacher employment and take steps to work out where the issue are
  • the MQuITE project surveying graduates’ experience will be a good starting point in tracking teachers’ careers
  • teachers’ mobility may have been impacted by COVID-19 and there seems a reluctance to move out with the local authority where teacher induction took place
  • it was suggested that if there is a problem in recruiting primary teachers in the north and more rural areas of Scotland the Teacher Induction Preference Waiver in primary should be increased to the same level as secondary

Manifesto commitments

  • 3,500 additional teachers and classroom assistants
  • reduction of teachers’ daily contact time by an hour and a half per week

(Paper TWPAG 2021/3)

Paper TWPAG 2021/3 considered the possible impact of the above manifesto commitments on teacher workforce planning and ITE.

Discussion of the group:

  • a discussion is needed on the reduction in CCT at SNCT to consider whether it is a contractual issue and therefore applied across all teachers
  • whether to introduce CCT all at the one time, depending on there being enough teachers in the system and in the right places, or to have a phase approach will have to be considered
  • there is concern about the difficulties in recruiting to some secondary ITE subjects
  • source of teachers available such as returners to teaching or from those seeking to change career after redundancy, e.g. oil workers, have already been tapped and thought may be all but exhausted
  • there is a need to incentivise people to enter the teaching profession by making terms and conditions attractive
  • there is a need to revisit ITE qualifications and professional development to consider primary/secondary transition and the category of broad general education (BGE) to provide something in this middle area to help meet the challenge of increasing teacher numbers
  • the review of GTCS registration is welcomed. It was, however, pointed out that a lot was possible under current registration rules e.g. primary teachers can teach in secondary if they have the appropriate skills. Teachers working across sectors is not generally something that happens and local authorities should be more aware of such opportunities to use the teacher workforce more flexibly
  • a number of HEIs have consolidated and reduced staffing due to COVID-19. Large changes in student numbers are difficult to manage in terms of use of temporary staff contracts. HEIs welcome as much stability as possible
  • consideration needs to be given to longer term planning and timelines for ITE provision. HEIs are of differing sizes and not all offer undergraduate and PGDE courses at the same level
  • there is a need to have a clear position of teacher need over the next few years for teacher workforce planning. Work is ongoing on local authorities estimate of actual current and longer term need for teachers. In the longer term this should help in providing some form of regionalised balance in ITE provision

Next steps

Action: SG to prepare a paper for Ministers seeking views on options to deliver the manifesto commitments to fund recruitment of additional teachers and reduce teachers’ weekly contact time by an hour and a half per week. 

A meeting of the TWPAG is to be scheduled in October to discuss TWPAG recommendations on ITE.

Related papers

Read the agenda and papers for this meeting

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