Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group minutes: December 2017

Minutes of the meeting of the Teacher Workforce Planning Advisory Group (TWPAG) that took place on 14 December 2017.

Attendees and apologies


Stuart Robb - Scottish Government (Joint Chair)
Morag Redford - Universities Scotland (Joint Chair)
Rowena Arshad - Universities Scotland
Martin Boyle - University of Glasgow
Linda Brownlow - SCDE
Greg Dempster - AHDS
David Drysdale - Education Scotland
Sarah Kirkpatrick - SFC
Ken Muir - GTCS
Jim Thewliss - School Leaders Scotland
Louise Wilson - SNCT Teachers Panel
Michael Wood - ADES
Stephanie Walsh - Scottish Government
Alastair Anthony - Scottish Government
Ann Hunter - Scottish Government


Bruce Golding - Scottish Government
Kathy Cameron - COSLA
Tracey Gillespie - SPDS
Elizabeth Horsburgh - SFC
Tom Young - COSLA

Items and actions

1. Welcome and introduction

1.1. Stuart Robb chaired this meeting and welcomed members of the group.

2. Item 2 minutes of the meeting of 30 October 2017

2.1. The minutes of the meeting of 30 October were agreed as an accurate record.

2.2 Actions points from 30 October 2017 minutes:

Action:  Separate out decline, withdrawal and rejection student teacher application numbers and consider the level of detail made available i.e. overall numbers or by University - Linda Brownlow was invited to provide admission information on decline, withdrawal and rejection numbers.  This action point is rolled over to a future meeting.

Action:  The increase in the number of vacancies in Glasgow City Council will be queried by the Scottish Government - Glasgow City Council has advised that vacancy figures are inflated in 2017 by the inclusion in some areas of Pupil Equity Funding additional posts.  This will apply to other local authorities. Noted

Action:   In response to the recommendation of the Education and Skills Committee’s report that the teacher workforce planning process should be more transparent, members of the TWPAG have agreed to the publication of minutes, details of data and methodology.  Teacher vacancy and recruitment to ITE data, which feeds in into the 2018/19 exercise, has been published on the Scottish Government website.  

Action:   The statistical model has been reviewed and revised to include initial teacher education recruitment and teacher vacancies data from 2017.  It had not been possible to circulate a revised model before the December meeting of the group.

Action:   A discussion on the approach to clawback of funding for under recruitment has taken place between SFC and Universities. Discussions are on-going  

2.3. It was noted that the pressures of teacher recruitment in Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray Councils were not entirely evident in the vacancies reported by local authorities at 20 September 2017. 

Action: Consideration will be given next year to the vacancy survey asking local authorities to report on more than advertised posts.

3. Item 3 requirement for Roman Catholic approved and Gaelic Medium teachers

(Paper TWPAG/2017/1) 

3.1. Paper TWPAG/2017/1 set out the numbers of teachers, with Roman Catholic approval and the numbers of teachers able to teach in the Gaelic medium gathered through the 2017 census, for information.

Discussion of the group:

  • ADES HR are undertaking work on the number of teachers applying for church approval which allows them to teach in Roman Catholic schools.
  • The teacher vacancy survey includes information on Roman Catholic and Gaelic medium vacancies.
  • The Scottish Government is supporting the provision of the Catholic Teacher Certificate at the Universities of Strathclyde, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

4. Item 4 Teacher Workforce Planning

(Paper TWPAG/2017/2)

4.1       Paper TWPAG/2017/2 set out the statistical teacher workforce planning modelling.  The model is based on a variety of factors including: pupil projections, the pupil and teacher censuses; the age profile of the teacher workforce; post probation employment rates; assumptions about the leaver and returner rates, the requirement for a supply pool; retention rates and that PTRs will remain constant; and includes teacher vacancy data collected at 20 September 2017.  In addition to taking account of the model output, TWPAG also considered other evidence it had about teacher supply and demand across the country.

Discussion of the group:

  • Assumptions on retention rates included in the statistical modelling for primary undergraduate (UG) and PGDE courses are around 75% and 85% respectively. Rates for secondary courses are around 80% (UG) and 90% (PGDE).  Dropout rates for undergraduate courses are lower than expected for a 4 year programme where a number of students will be lost each year.  In secondary this might be explained by there being fewer courses on offer.
  • Pupil Equity Funding and Scottish Attainment Challenge vacancies should be identified separately from vacancies for other reasons in order to help show any additionality

Action:  Consideration will be given to local authorities identifying Pupil Equity Funding and Scottish Attainment Challenge vacancies separately on their in 2018 Teacher Vacancy Survey returns. 

  • The increase in the primary supply assumption in the model from 8% to 12% in 2017/18 should be maintained in 2018/19 to respond to local information that there is a lack of teachers to provide supply cover in the system.
  • It was confirmed that the increase (126) in 2017/18 to support more teachers in Early Learning Centres settings, to help the delivery of the commitment for an additional teacher or graduate in every nursery in our most deprived areas, had been a one-off additional intake and these numbers were not required to support this initiative in 2018/19.
  • While there is currently no evidence of any decrease in EU numbers in the teaching workforce as a result of the plans to leave EU, the impact of this on EU nationals applying for GTCS registration and to ITE courses needs to be monitored.
  • There needs to be more joined up planning between universities and local authorities to address the geographical challenges of supply and demand.
  • It was noted that PGDE graduates tend to stay in the same area for their probationary year and employment.  It was suggested that local authorities incentivising people to attract them to their area needs more consideration.
  • The operation of the preference waiver scheme in the Teacher Induction Scheme in allocating probationers to more remote areas should be reviewed.

5. Item 5 new routes into teaching

(Paper TWPAG/2017/3)

5.1. Paper TWPAG/2017/3 provided an update on the progress of the development and recruitment to the new routes into teaching announced in November 2016.  Further developments in respect of ITE are now underway eg at Strathclyde University an access route to teacher education that builds directly on HND qualifications undertaken in the Further Education sector.

Action: New routes need to be factored in to meeting subject targets.

6. Item 6 discussion of secondary subject target intakes 

6.1. University representatives, SFC and the Scottish Government will meet in January to discuss PGDE secondary subject intake targets.

7. Agreement/summary of advice the group should offer to Scottish Ministers on ITE and target intakes in 2018/19

7.1. Primary student teacher intakes

The Advisory Group were of the view that:

  • the increase in the primary supply assumption in the model from 8% to 12% in 2017/18 needs to be maintained to respond to local information that there is a lack of teachers to provide supply cover; and
  • In recognition of the pressure in recruitment reported by local authorities in the primary sector it was not the time to reduce PGDE primary target intake to 700 as projected by the statistical model.  It needs to be kept in mind, however, that primary pupil projections are set to stabilise from 2018 onwards which will lead to a reduction in the requirement for newly qualified teachers.

The group therefore recommended that the 2018 target for Primary should be

  • 710 undergraduate
  • 1,200 PGDE 

7.2      Secondary student teacher intakes

The model suggests a decrease in the secondary PGDE target intake to 1,700.  Due to the recruitment difficulties experienced by some local authorities in some subjects, the group were of the view that:

  • secondary PGDE target intakes need to be maintained at 1,750 set in 2017/18; and
  • Target intakes to undergraduate secondary and combined degree courses should increase by the total of 28.

8. Item 8 next steps

It was noted that:

  • a more detailed meeting with the Deans would be held on 9 January to discuss setting targets for individual institutions, and
  • GTCS were about to embark on a Review of the Memorandum on Entry Requirements
RC Gaelic medium teachersTWPAG 2017 1.pdf
New routes into teaching -TWPAG 2017 3.pdf


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

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