Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group meeting: December 2018

Papers from the Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group meeting on 18 December 2018.

Attendees and apologies


  • Stuart Robb, Scottish Government (Joint Chair)
  • Linda Brownlow, SCDE (Joint Chair)
  • Rowena Arshad, Universities Scotland
  • Kathy Cameron, COSLA
  • Greg Dempster, AHDS
  • Tracey Gillespie, SPDS
  • Elizabeth Horsburgh, SFC
  • Sarah Kirkpatrick, SFC
  • Dave McGinty, SNCT Teachers Panel
  • Ken Muir, GTCS 
  • Morag Redford, Universities Scotland 
  • Jim Thewliss, SLS
  • Michael Wood, ADES
  • Stephanie Walsh, Scottish Government
  • Alastair Anthony, Scottish Government 
  • Huw Landrock, Scottish Government
  • Ashley Clarkin (by dial in), Scottish Government
  • Ann Hunter, Scottish Government


  • Martin Boyle, University of Glasgow
  • Tom Young, COSLA 

Items and actions

Welcome and introduction

Stuart Robb chaired this meeting and welcomed members of the group. The purpose of this meeting was to finalise the TWPAG recommendations on initial teacher education in 2019/20.

Minutes of the meeting of 29 October 2018

It was agreed that the minutes of the meeting of 29 October were an accurate record.

Actions points from 29 October 2018 minutes:


  • group to provide a summary of work being undertaken to promote teaching at next meeting on 29 October 2018. Action point rolled over to next meeting

Paper TWPAG/2018/4 at item 3 on the agenda provides, for information, a summary of work being undertaken to promote teaching as a career. It is useful to see the work being undertaken and members of the group were encouraged to provide more information for discussion at a future meeting.


  • it was agreed that a representative from UCAS should be invited to the next meeting on 29 October to discuss the application system for Scottish teacher education providers. To be followed up

UCAS have since had a meeting with PGDE providers in Scotland in January 2019, at which SG was present, to discuss whether their PG Application Management System is an option for resolving the current difficulties in PGDE admissions in Scotland. These discussions are on-going.


  • consider with COSLA the collection of information from local authorities on how many teachers they need to ensure teachers are in the areas they are required

This action was taken forward in the COSLA report for the Children and Young Peoples Board at the end of November 2018. Local authorities are content to respond to an enquiry about posts no longer advertised. Discussion is needed on how this is taken forward eg at time of teacher vacancy survey at September or a separate exercise.


  • what action some LAs are taking to achieve low vacancy rates will be discussed with authorities at ADES HR

To be followed up at ADES HR for next meeting of TWPAG.


  • the teacher vacancy survey information will be finalised and published on the Scottish Government website

The teacher vacancy survey and 2018 provisional initial teacher education information was published on the website on 10 December 2018.

Requirement for Roman Catholic approved and Gaelic Medium teachers (paper TWPAG/2018/5) 

Paper TWPAG/2018/5 sets out the numbers of teachers, with Roman Catholic approval and the numbers of teachers able to teach in the Gaelic medium gathered through the 2018 census, for information.

The information collected from local authorities on denominational teachers through the Teacher Census and the vacancy survey needs to be examined to improve the data captured and understand the situation better.

Teacher workforce planning (paper TWPAG/2018/6)

Paper TWPAG/2018/6 sets out the statistical teacher workforce planning modelling. In addition to taking account of the model output, the TWPAG also considered other evidence it had about teacher supply and demand across the country.

Discussion of the group:

It was noted that:

  • overall leaver rates had decreased from 5.5% in 2017 to 5.2% in 2018. However, there might be a difference in female teacher leaver rates, as it has been shown in England, that other employment is taken up elsewhere where part-time work is not available to returning teachers
  • the vacancy data input into the teacher workforce planning model excludes head teacher and deputy head teachers. Teacher workforce planning relates to initial teacher education and posts becoming vacant through filling promoted posts will be backfilled by those entering the teaching workforce
  • returner rate assumptions in the model are FTE
  • GTCS are seeing a decreasing number of EU applicants requesting registration in Scotland
  • retention rates included in the model are up to date and take account of multiple years
  • the model’s projected marked reduction in requirement for primary teachers does not reflect the information from local authorities about recruitment challenges. While it is agreed that now is not the time to reduce PGDE primary target intakes, it needs to be kept in mind that a discussion about a decrease at some point will be required. An understanding of geographical need and Action point 4 will be needed before a reduction is made. Part of the process will be a discussion with Universities about redistribution of student teacher places
  • in response to broad general education it may be apt, should there be an excess of primary teachers, to market a dual qualification in secondary. The General Teaching Council for Scotland are looking at introducing registration across the primary and secondary sectors
  • there is a need to look at the evidence base at local level when increasing numbers to address regional needs
  • universities reported that applications numbers were down at December eg primary 25%
  • there should be an open discussion with universities about any planned reduction in primary intake targets


  • Scottish Government to consider more of a regional focus in teacher workforce planning
  • Scottish Government will open up dialogue with universities about primary intake targets, starting at the meeting scheduled in January 2019

Agreement/summary of advice the group should offer to Scottish Ministers on ITE and target intakes in 2019/20

Primary and Secondary student teacher intake:

  • the TWPAG were of the view that in recognition of the pressure in recruitment reported by local authorities in the primary sector and in some secondary subjects, now is not the time to reduce PGDE primary target intake and in PGDE secondary an increase is required. In addition to this, the TWPAG considered other factors, such as Brexit, the school empowerment agenda and the development of new career pathways, which could lead to a requirement for more teachers to be trained however
  • recognised the need to keep primary targets under consideration bearing in mind that projections show the number of primary pupils has peaked and are projected to drop slightly to the end of the projection period

In taking account of all of the information available the TWPAG made the following recommendations:

Intakes to primary courses in 2019/20:

  • 1,230 for the 1 year PGDE course and 
  • 710 for the 4 year undergraduate course

Intakes to secondary courses in 2019/20:

  • 1,800 for the 1-year PGDE course and other alternative routes and
  • 190 for the 4-year undergraduate places

Intakes to combined courses in 2019-20:

  • 250 for the 4-year undergraduate combined degrees 

Next steps

Advice on initial teacher education in 2019/20 will be provided to Mr Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills and the letter of guidance will issue to SFC.

University representatives will meet on 10 January 2019 to discuss how they will meet the targets set for individual secondary subjects and which institutions are best placed to take increased numbers. 

TWPAG meeting agenda: December 2018
TWPAG-2018-6: teacher workforce planning exercise
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