Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group meeting: March 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 1 March 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Linda Brownlow SCDE (Joint Chair) 
  • Stuart Robb Scottish Government (Joint Chair) 
  • Michael Wood ADES 
  • Michael Boyle ADES HR 
  • Greg Dempster AHDS 
  • Simon Cameron COSLA 
  • Pauline Stephen GTCS 
  • Sarah Kirkpatrick SFC 
  • Elizabeth Horsburgh SFC 
  • Jim Thewliss SLS 
  • Dave McGinty SNCT Teachers Panel 
  • Tracey Gillespie SPDS 
  • Hulda Sveinsdottir University of Aberdeen 
  • Carrie McLennan Universities Scotland 
  • Morag Redford Universities Scotland 
  • Stephanie Walsh Scottish Government 
  • Huw Landrock Scottish Government 
  • Janice Blanc Scottish Government 
  • Scott Brand Scottish Government 
  • Keya Rakshith Scottish Government
  • Lucy Rudkin Scottish Government 


  • Gavin Lee University of West of Scotland (Hulda Sveinsdottir substituting)
  • Alastair Anthony Scottish Government

Items and actions


Linda Brownlow chaired this meeting and welcomed members of the group.

Minutes of meeting on 26 October 2021 (Paper TWPAG/2022/1).

It was agreed that the minutes of the meeting of 26 October were an accurate record and will be published on the Scottish Government website. 

Presentation on modelling for future intakes 

Huw Landrock presented on the model for Teacher Workforce Planning (presentation attached) 

He made the following points: 

  • the Scottish Government commitment is for 4,900 additional teacher by 2025 

  • the 2021 Teacher Census had shown an increase of around 900 teachers from 2020, an increase of around 2,000 from 2019 and round 3,500 since 2015 

  • pupil rolls expected to decline in primary and increase in secondary over the next few years

  • there had been a drop in post-probationer employment with only 80% in permanent or temporary employment. Chemistry is particularly low at only 23% in permanent employment

  • pupil Teacher Ratios are expected to reduce in primary but remained fairly stable in secondary 

The model reflects the implementation of reduced class contact time, although there is still more localised information needed to improve estimates and is based on five year projections.

The group noted the UCAS statistical release showing that the number of applicants for primary and secondary PGDE are down substantially this year. However, they are comparable with 2019. It was noted that this is not as pressing an issue for primary as it is always vastly over-subscribed, but it is an issue for secondary, particularly in shortage subjects. 

It was noted that while the model was more sophisticated than it was in the past, some members felt it could be improved to better capture potential retirements, increased flexible working patters and subject need across and within schools. 

The group were informed that data is being gathered from all local authorities on local need and this analysis will be brought back to the group once completed. 

National targets 

It was noted that there are significant challenges for universities in all of the modelling scenarios that are being considered. Universities also face challenges in introducing new programmes within a short timeframe. Any failure to meet this year’s targets will add to the numbers needed in future years. 

In terms of what can be done to help recruitment, it was suggested that more flexibility is needed around entry requirements. The Memorandum on Entry Requirements to Programmes of Initial Teacher Education can be updated at any point in time and it was agreed to consider how to modify them without lowering standards. 

Revisions to class contact time 

The group were updated that consideration of reducing class contact time is being taken forward by the SNCT who will meet on the 22 March to discuss this further. They will be aided by the local authority needs analysis. The ADES HR network are also looking at potential implications especially for the secondary sector. The group agreed that a finalised timetable for implementation is needed. 

Priority subjects 

The group were informed that while targets in areas such as chemistry, physics, home economics were increasing, actual numbers had not. In contrast the number of chemistry teachers gaining employment after probation was falling. Also the target numbers of computing science teachers had decreased in recent years. It was suggested that the introduction of alternative routes had probably led to a disproportionate increase in other priority subjects. However, universities are able to over recruit to computing science without incurring any penalty.

It was reported that there may be a significant number of teachers with qualifications in subjects that are not traditionally taught in Scottish schools who were not in employment. It would need the curriculum opened up to allow these teachers to be used in local authority schools. This links to the wider issues that we need to ensure that students are recruited into programmes that will ultimately give them good employment opportunities.


The group discussed registration categories to see if there was a more effective way to deploy teachers. It was noted that teachers should only be deployed in roles that they are qualified to teach. It was suggested that the process for dual registration should be promoted. It was questioned whether increasing dual registration would add another level of complexity to workforce planning and if it would help solve the issues with secondary subject recruitment. 

 It was raised that the system needs to find more imaginative ways to recruit to harder-to-fill subjects. Certainly the STEM bursary has helped numbers in Scotland but there are still questions on why people who are passionate enough to study a subject to a degree level do not wish to teach this at secondary level. It was suggested that there would be merit in asking students in universities why they aren’t interested in teaching as there are financial incentives available. Also more work could be done with the college sector to encourage students into the teaching profession. 

LA needs analysis 

As mentioned earlier COSLA are collating and analysing local data from authorities. This should highlight the different needs across local authorities and hopefully capture where vacancies are going unfilled. 

Student placement/teacher induction scheme 

The group discussed a paper from the Student Placement Management Group. The paper seeks to highlight some of the factors which present a significant challenge to stakeholders who are involved with matching student teachers to placements. 

The group were reminded that the default position is that schools are expected to take students. It was also raised that this is an opportunity to consider how the system can better support students, probationers and early career teachers. 

It was decided that these issues would be taken to the Strategic Board for Teacher Education. 

Next steps 

The monitoring of target intakes will begin in April. 

Local needs analysis should be considered with the aim that it assists with the challenge of ensuring teachers with the right subjects in the right places. 

The group will be informed of the decision on the introduction of reduced class contact time and the timescales involved. 

Date of next meeting 

A meeting will be arranged for late May/early June. 

Related papers

Teacher workforce planning advisory group meeting papers for the meeting in March 2022.

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