Teaching in a diverse Scotland - increasing and retaining minority ethnic teachers: 3 years on

This report outlines the progress and challenges faced in implementing the seventeen recommendations of the Teaching in a Diverse Scotland report, and outlines the work still to be undertaken to achieve the aim of a teaching profession, which reflects the diversity of Scotland's population.

Annex D – Copy of letter sent to Initial Teacher Education providers in Scotland

To: University Principals/Heads of School

In 2018, the Scottish Government acknowledged the underrepresentation of black and minority ethnic people in teaching at all levels and accepted the seventeen recommendations included in the Teaching in a Diverse Scotland report.

The Diversity in the Teaching Profession Working Group, is charged with the task of implementing the recommendations and involves key partners, including universities providing teacher education programmes. A list of the group's membership and work so far can be found here: https://www.gov.scot/publications/diversity-in-the-teaching-profession-minutes-index/

At the time of the report's publication, only 1.4% of the teaching workforce came from a minority ethnic background. The Deputy First Minister gave his full support to the recommendations of the report which set the ambitious aim that by 2030 the number of minority ethnic teachers in Scotland's schools should be at least 4%, which is at a par with the Scottish black and minority ethnic population1 as per the 2011 census.

As an illustration to achieve the target of at least 4% of minority ethnic teachers in Scotland's schools by 2030, would mean we need to increase the number of minority ethnic teachers being recruited into the profession by approximately 200 per year, across all ITE providers from August 2022 to August 2030 inclusive. These numbers are estimates, but gives some idea of the scale of the challenge.

The recent publication of the Programme for Government (PfG) setting out a range of actions the Scottish Government will take over the next year states that "we will ensure that the diversity of our society is recognised and represented in the education workforce at all levels in line with the ambitions of the Race Equality Framework. As part of this work we will address the under representation of Minority Ethnic teachers in Scotland by exploring alternative pathways into teaching forMinority Ethnic and other underrepresented groups".This provides a further welcome commitment and a sharpened focus for the sector towards our aim.

The working group will in due course be giving consideration to the PfG commitment and offering advice to the Scottish Government on what this might potentially look like. We will be keen to engage with teachers, local authorities and university colleagues to determine the most appropriate approaches to ensuring that minority ethnic teachers are best supported into the teaching profession.

Meanwhile, there is much that can be done now to help us to achieve our target, and as Convenor of the working group, I am writing to seek your institution's pro-active support in helping us achieve a teaching population which is representative of Scotland's population by 2030.

To enable this to happen, it will be very helpful if each provider could have a clear strategy of how they intend to contribute to this. There are many facets that will need to be looked at holistically and it will necessitate systems support from all involved within the university from those engaged in outreach, marketing, admissions, teaching staff, those involved in academic development to management.

Listed below are examples of approaches which could be taken to support us to reach this goal:

  • Outreach to schools to encourage minority ethnic students to consider a career in teaching
  • Outreach to minority ethnic communities in partnership with local authority and other allies e.g. teaching unions, teacher education partnerships, careers service
  • Ensuring diversity is recognised and represented on open days (f2f to online)
  • Reviewing recruitment, selection and admissions processes to ensure minority ethnic applicants are not disadvantaged but are also enabled (including contextualised admissions)
  • Developing an inclusive and anti-racist ethos within ITE programmes through appropriate professional learning programmes for academic staff
  • Interrogating data to ensure there is no minority ethnic attainment and achievement gap within your institution
  • Revisiting ITE content to ensure it works with different epistemic traditions within the classroom (e.g. draws from writers, ideas and perspectives that acknowledges frames of reference that are more diverse and international)
  • Employing diverse pedagogies that improve accessibility and considers the equality, diversity and inclusion dynamics within the lecture/tutorial/seminar
  • Developing improved racial literacy among ITE staff and tutors as well as other staff (e.g. admissions) engaged in the recruitment and selection process
  • Improving the diversity of staffing within teacher education departments thereby offering role models
  • Setting up of scholarships targeted at under-represented groups, including minority ethnic people
  • Ensuring there are effective report and support mechanisms for Black and minority ethnic students who might experience racism and racial harassment on campus and within placements
  • Providing peer mentoring, coaching for Black and minority ethnic students as appropriate

My colleagues and I have been well supported by the Scottish Council of Deans of Education and we will continue to work closely with them. We are particularly encouraged by the work they have begun to take forward to develop a new National Framework for Diversity in Initial Teacher Education.

Achieving change will be highly dependent on all institutions fully engaging with this work. I am very happy to discuss any ideas you might have directly with yourselves and equally, if you have any suggestions or concerns, please do not hesitate to be get in touch.

Professor Emerita Rowena Arshad CBE, FEIS


Email: sian.balfour@gov.scot

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