Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group meeting: October 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 26 October 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Linda Brownlow, SCDE (Joint Chair)
  • Stuart Robb, Scottish Government (Joint Chair)
  • Emma Corse, Aberdeen University
  • Michael Boyle, ADES
  • Jonathan Cunningham, AHDS
  • Victoria Smith, GTCS
  • Gavin Bruce, SFC
  • Elizabeth Horsburgh, SFC
  • Sarah Kirkpatrick, SFC
  • Dave McGinty, SNCT
  • Glenda Gray, SPDS
  • Carrie McLennan, Universities Scotland
  • Morag Redford, Universities Scotland
  • Alasdair Anthony, Scottish Government
  • David Nicholson, Scottish Government
  • Lucy Rudkin, Scottish Government
  • Scott Brand, Scottish Government
  • Stephanie Walsh, Scottish Government


  • Greg Dempster
  • Gavin Lee
  • Jim Thewliss
  • Pauline Stephen
  • Tracey Gillespie
  • Hulda Sveinsdottir

Items and actions


Stuart Robb chaired this meeting and welcomed members of the group. He stated that the purpose of the meeting was to agree national intake targets for initial teacher education programmes for academic year 2023/24.

Minutes of meeting on 1 March 2022 (paper TWPAG/2022/1)

It was requested that clarity is provided at 4.2 to reflect the GTCS contribution at the last meeting. Once revised then it was agreed that the minutes of the meeting can be published on the Scottish Government website.

Recruitment to initial teacher education (ITE) in 2022

Scott Brand explained that enrolment figures were still being collated. However, from those received to date then it looks likely that both Primary PGDE and Undergraduate and Combined will reach target while Secondary Undergraduate figures will likely be below target. More information will be shared to the group once all returns are provided which may change the figures.

Teacher Workforce Planning 2023 Exercise – statistical model (paper TWPAG/2022/8)

David Nicholson presented the statistical model for Teacher Workforce Planning (presentation attached)

He made the following points:

  • the total number of teachers needed to meet the PfG/SGP agreement commitments is 57,100 by 2025. Therefore, a hard numerical target had been set rather than maintaining pupil: teacher ratios. To meet the target within the set timescale the model needs to focus on PGDE recruitment rather than undergraduate

  • At the time of the last teacher census in September 2021 there were 54,285 teachers recorded, requiring an additional 2,800 teachers by 2025 to meet the target

  • population projections from National Records of Scotland show the number of primary pupils continuing to decrease through to 2035, while secondary level pupils increased in 2017 for the first time in 14 years and is projected to continue increasing until 2024. This has resulted in a lower pupil: teacher ratio in the primary sector compared to the secondary sector

  • the age profile of teachers has changed from the largest group being in the fifties to the 25-40 age group

  • the model also calculates the number of teachers leaving the profession that need replaced. This includes those graduating from ITE but not completing the Teacher Induction Scheme

  • supply pool teachers are not accounted for in the staff census which counts only the normal complement member of staff or normal complement replacements. Teachers moving from a teaching position which is counted in the census to a supply post will be accounted for in the wastage (leaver) rates. No additional provision for supply staff has been included. We expect that the current level of supply pool will be maintained by staff entering it from the normal complement of teachers (the on-roll population), accounted for by the wastage rates

There was discussion on setting the targets for academic year 2023/24. The following points were made:

  • challenges in recruiting to ITE programmes is being seen globally and across the UK and this is replicated across other public sector workforces. It was noted that this generally happens when there are high employment opportunities. The upturn seen during the pandemic seems to have fallen away

  • need to ensure a reduction in class contact time for teachers is factored into workforce planning

  • there are aspects of entry requirements that may need to be revisited e.g., content of STEM degrees to encourage applications

  • secondary PGDE targets may not be realistic, and it can be demoralising for university staff when they fail to meet them

  • census results will be published on 13 December and depending on what they show may result in a review of targets agreed at this meeting

  • challenging recruitment targets could lead universities recruiting less well suited individuals to ITE programmes and a drop in the quality of students

It was agreed that a paper from this group on recruitment challenges would be presented to the next meeting of the Strategic Board for Teacher Education (SBTE) on 22 November 2022.

In view of the information provided and discussions at the meeting, It was agreed that the figures from last year will be used again, as our provisional targets, however, these may need revisiting dependent on the final enrolment figures and teacher census results. These are:

Primary Undergraduate and Combined 779

Primary PGDE 1,155

Secondary Undergraduate and Combined 336

Secondary PGDE 2,000

Total 4,270

Next steps

The group were informed that the next steps in this process are:

  • to get Ministerial clearance of the proposed targets

  • Organise a meeting between Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Council of Deans of Education to set individual university intake targets

  • develop a paper for the SBTE meeting scheduled for 22 November that sets out the position and challenges with intakes to initial teacher education programmes for this and future years

Any other business 

Linda Brownlow raised the issue of the University of Strathclyde’s PGDE Psychology. It was proving difficult to find placements for students and where there was a placement, they often found that there was not a full timetable and classes has small numbers of pupils. She suggested that the University either offer the programme every second year or combine with Religious Education. It was agreed to discuss this further possibly at the meeting between Scottish Government, Scottish Funding Council and the Council of Deans to discuss individual university target setting.

Date of next meeting

A meeting will be arranged for February/March 2023

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