Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group meeting: October 2018

Minutes from the Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group meeting on 29 October 2018.

Attendees and apologies


  • Stuart Robb, Scottish Government (Joint Chair)
  • Linda Brownlow, SCDE (Joint Chair)
  • Martin Boyle, University of Glasgow
  • Kathy Cameron, COSLA
  • Greg Dempster, AHDS
  • Elizabeth Horsburgh, SFC
  • Sarah Kirkpatrick, SFC
  • Dave McGinty, SNCT Teachers Panel
  • Ken Muir, TCS
  • Morag Redford, Universities Scotland
  • Jim Thewliss, SLS
  • Stephanie Walsh, Scottish Government
  • Alastair Anthony, Scottish Government
  • Anna McKinnon, Scottish Government
  • Ann Hunter, Scottish Government


  • Rowena Arshad, Universities Scotland
  • David Drysdale, Education Scotland
  • Tracey Gillespie, SPDS
  • Michael Wood, ADES
  • Tom Young, COSLA

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introductions

1.1. Stuart Robb chaired this meeting and welcomed members of the group.  It was noted that Dave McGinty is now the Teachers Panel representative on the group, replacing Louise Wilson.

1.2. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss issues feeding into the teacher workforce planning exercise, in advance of providing advice on the requirement for newly qualified teachers in 2019/2020 at the next meeting of the group in December.

2. Minutes of meeting on 28 August 2018

(Paper TWPAG/2018/2)

2.1. Page 6, Primary provision, 5.7, second sentence amended to:

“However, in recognition of the pressure in recruitment and demand for supply reported by local authorities in the primary sector, the TWPAG has advised that PGDE primary target intakes should increase.”

The minutes of the meeting of 28 August were agreed as an accurate record and will be published on the Scottish Government website. It was noted that a recent media FOI for the minutes of the TWPAG meeting on 28 August had been refused as an exemption under section 27(1) information intended for future publication of FOISA applied.

2.2. Ken Muir provided the following update:

  • the consultation on the Memorandum on Entry Requirements for Initial Teacher Education Programmes in Scotland commenced on 1 October and will end on 21 December 2018

EU nationals

  • GTCS applications for registration by EU nationals are normally around 200 and have been as high as 280.   GTCS data shows numbers have increased to 109 from 16 at the end of June 2018.  This is down on expected numbers at this time of year and is a significant decrease.   The decline is spread across the board of primary and secondary/subjects
  • the decline in EU applications to teach in Scotland can be factored into teacher workforce planning as part of the supplementary information taken into consideration

2.3.  Action points:

Action 1: Group to provide a summary of work being undertaken to promote teaching at next meeting on 29 October 2018.

2.3.1. Four responses had been received from the group to date.  There had not been time to draw these together for this meeting.  Kathy Cameron and Jim Thewliss will provide information, for their respective organisations, to be included.  This action point will roll over to the next meeting.

Action 2:  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.

2.3.2. No response had been received, as yet, from UCAS to the invitation.  This action point will roll over to the next meeting.

Action 3: Teacher workforce planning statistical model updated with pupil projections will be provided at meeting on 29 October 2018.

2.3.3. This action point will be discussed at item 5 of the agenda.

Action 4:  Scottish Government will share the work with the group on the match of university students to RICs.

2.3.4. SG are continuing to work on the match of university students to RICs. The relationship between RICs and University partnerships with local authorities needs to be encouraged as this is where work is ongoing. This should be a standing item on the agenda to consider how RICs are progressing. 

Action 5: 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.

2.3.5. It was suggested that this action could be taken forward in the COSLA report for the Children and Young Peoples Board.  Update at next meeting.

Action 6: Consider the advertising messages needed in the next phase of the teacher recruitment campaign eg ensuring secondary teaching is at the forefront of people’s mind when considering a career in teaching.

The following update on recruitment advertising and STEM bursaries was provided:

Recruitment campaign

  • the next stage of the general recruitment campaign advertising STEM and home economics teaching is underway in cinemas
  • consideration is being given to widen the focus of the recruitment campaign to English and modern languages
  • the Headteacher recruitment campaign launched at the Learning Festival in September 2018.  More work will be undertaken in January 2019. Information on the number of Headteacher applications following the campaign will be provided
  • the outwith Scotland campaign will start after Christmas as part of the wider campaign to come and work in Scotland
  • it was confirmed that there had been no change to the visa situation, which is a reserved matter for the Home Office, for those outwith Scotland wishing to teach here. A consultation is due for issue by the Migration Advisory Committee

STEM bursaries

  • 154 applications have been received for STEM bursaries and 107 have been awarded
  • it was confirmed that the STEM bursary scheme will run next year
  • SDS will review the scheme.  A working group has been set up to consider selection criteria, the operation of the scheme and any adjustments that may be necessary
  • there is no penalty clause for those who leave the PGDE course. The bursary is paid monthly and is only paid for period of time on the course

3. Teacher vacancy survey

3.1. The teacher vacancy information collected at 19 September 2018, by the Scottish Government in conjunction with COSLA, shows vacancies are lower across the board than compared to last year and more in line with 2016. There were 1,010 permanent and temporary vacancies across all sectors, a decrease from 1,253 in 2017. Permanent full and part time vacancies, the figures used in the teacher workforce planning statistical model, show a decrease to 203 in pre-school and primary in comparison to 309 in 2017.  Secondary numbers have decreased to 398 from 507 in 2017. There are also less hard to fill (longer than 3 months) vacancies.  The level of vacancies is similar to that obtained by Scottish Liberal Democrats under FOI from local authorities. 

Clackmannanshire Council data has not been included as we are still awaiting finalised data.  It is not expected to change figures dramatically.

Discussion of the group

  • there are some authorities that have reported surprisingly few vacancies. It would of interest to know what they found successful in achieving low vacancy rates.

Action 7: What action some LAs are taking to achieve low vacancy rates will be discussed with authorities at ADES HR. 

  • the difference in  Glasgow City Council secondary hard to fill vacancies, 101 in 2017 and 16 in 2018 is due to 2017 vacancy figures being inflated by the inclusion of Pupil Equity Funding (PEF) additional posts at the time which were filled the month after report
  • Aberdeen City Council vacancy numbers are proportionately worse than the large authority of Glasgow City Council
  • anecdotal difficulties in teacher recruitment in Aberdeenshire and Moray is again, as last year, not showing in the vacancies reported by these local authorities at September 2018
  • there was a reminder that the survey is a snapshot in time of the teacher vacancy situation at the same time as the Schools Census in Scotland and that vacancy numbers change on a daily basis

Action 8: The teacher vacancy survey information will be finalised and published on the Scottish Government website.

4. Recruitment to initial teacher education (ITE) in 2018

4.1. 2018 ITE student enrolment numbers have been collected from Universities at October. These provisional figures have to be confirmed and are incomplete as there are still other intakes numbers for courses starting later in the year/beginning of next year to be included. For example, in primary PGDE there is a target of 45 for the January start DLITE course at Aberdeen University. Both primary undergraduate and PGDE are likely to exceed target numbers allocated.

In secondary there are potentially 91 student intakes from courses still to start to contribute to the overall secondary total target of 1750. The PGDE secondary total intake is showing 1289, 63 up on the 2017 total intake of 1226.

Discussion of the group

  • it would be useful to see dual subject qualification numbers. This will be available from the Scottish Funding Council early statistical return undertaken in December
  • other routes, such as the Partnership Induction Model (PIM) and the Supported Induction Route (SIR), are contributing to meeting the overall secondary target of 1750, with a focus on STEM
  • it would be valuable to know, in subjects where intake is up, why people have chosen to pursue teaching as a career. It was suggested that Universities may be able to conduct an online survey of their PGDE students. It may also be useful to have case studies from willing PGDE students with positive stories. The results of both these pieces of work could feed in to the recruitment campaign
  • it is a relatively positive picture with recruitment in some subjects up and vacancy numbers not as high
  • the group were of the view to publish the data on ITE recruitment in 2018/19 now could be misleading as it is incomplete

5. Teacher workforce planning

5.1. New 2017 based pupil projections will feed into the teacher workforce planning statistical model in 2018. The trends are broadly the same with the number of primary pupils peaking in 2018 then dropping slightly towards the end of the projection period and the number of secondary pupils rising steadily from 2016 to 2022.

5.2. There is no difference in the primary pupil projections between 2015 and 2017 therefore the primary teacher projection in the model will remain the same. At secondary level, the latest pupil projections grow more quickly than previously projected therefore increasing the demand for secondary teachers in the 2018 workforce planning model. The model will be run with pupil projections and other factors that are taken into account, such as vacancy numbers, to show the outcome of how all this impacts on the results.

5.3. There is unlikely to be a huge change in 2019 initial teacher education intake targets from last year. Despite the teacher workforce planning statistical model projecting a need to decrease the intake to PGDE primary courses for several years, the TWPAG has advised that target intakes should increase in recognition of the pressure in recruitment and demand for supply reported by local authorities in the primary sector. PGDE primary intake targets will have to be lowered at some point. Consideration will have to be given to this, however, perhaps now is still not the time to reduce numbers.

There is likely to be a slight increase to secondary which is recognised as challenging.

Discussion of the group

  • a new articulation route for HND students in FE colleges, who are on STEM related programmes, to access PGDE programmes teacher education will start to feed in to help recruitment in these secondary subjects
  • there are round 800 EU GTCS registrants.  The impact on EU nationals leaving Scotland will depend on number of elements in the terms of BREXIT, including the issue of payment of a settlement fee.  This applies across all employees. The First Minister has given a commitment to support the public sector
  • SFC early return statistics in December will include the number of EU students undertaking courses of initial teacher education
  • school staying on rate on rates are taken into account in pupil projections which have increased in the last decade and peaked around 87% in 2014
  • changes in the pupil projections between 2015 and 2017 are likely due in part to changes in migration

Next steps

  • all data available will be factored into the model and circulated in advance of the next meeting
  • finalised teacher vacancy survey and 2018 initial teacher education information will be published on the Scottish Government website
  • a meeting with the Scottish Government, Universities and SFC will be held in January to discuss intake targets at institutions

6. Date of next meeting

6.1. The next meeting of the group is scheduled for 2.30 pm Tuesday 18 December 2018. The purpose of this meeting is to provide advice to Scottish Ministers on the requirement for newly qualified teachers.



Teaching Workforce Planning Advisory Group
c/o Scottish Government
Learning Directorate
Victoria Quay

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