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 E - Summary report of responses from Initial Teacher Education providers in Scotland

We received responses from all eleven ITE providers. All providers affirmed the need for greater ethnic diversity within Scotland's teaching workforce to better reflect the wider society schools now serve. All were firmly committed to ensuring an inclusive culture within campus and celebrating the diversity of staff and students. Some providers pointed to their strong history of reducing barriers to education and supporting applicants who are either under-represented or come to teaching via non-school routes. They indicated they would build on such knowledge to assist in diversifying on grounds of ethnicity. Many also referred to the use of contextualised admissions as a way of widening access and the use of reaccreditation processes to ensure future teachers are able to utilise individual agency to become a 'teacher for their community' both in terms of being cross-sector but also able to work across diversities e.g. able to support a bilingual approach.

Overall, responses located their overall commitment to equality and diversity within their University's policies and guidance related to equality and diversity. For some, their University's race equality and anti-racist action plans were specifically mentioned as being another guidance source the various Schools of Education would work to complement. Many also mentioned upholding principles and practices that govern partner bodies such as the General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS) and the Scottish Government.

The language of responses largely relate to intentions for the future. Therefore, monitoring is required to ensure action is taken forward. However, these responses now provide a useful roadmap for each institution and at national level to guide and follow up on progress. This might be an area that the Scottish Council of Deans of Education (SCDE) be asked to provide an annual report to the Scottish Board of Teacher Education (SBTE) or equivalent.

There is however a variation in terms of language used in the responses with those who use phrases like 'anti-racism' and 'decolonisation' in addition to the more commonly used terms like inclusion, diversity and addressing unconscious bias.

To shift to a situation where there is improved racial literacy among ITE staff and students, there is a need for ITE staff to robustly engage with concepts like racism, anti-racism, racial microaggressions and decolonisation.

All providers now have at least one lecture on equality and diversity with the majority having multiple opportunities to open up discussions around equality and inclusion including inputs from external organisations working on these issues. While this is a start, to embed equality, diversity and anti-racism will require content across the board from the teaching of specific topics e.g. lesson planning to how one teaches different subjects. This we assume is what will be occurring for those who are embarking on reviewing content and to consider what decolonising the curriculum and developing culturally sensitive pedagogies means for all programmes and at all levels. There was also acknowledgement from some that there may be low levels of racial literacy among ITE staff with very few staff coming from a visible minority.

All institutions are beginning to explore how data held by their universities can be interrogated to examine patterns in applications, offers, acceptances, attainment (degree classifications). Some have indicated that where necessary this would move to identifying positive actions to improve representation and better support all students from minority backgrounds. However, not all institutions are at the stage of being able to have sufficient data, let alone granular data that would enable this. This is a priority area that this working group would wish an update on for its final meeting in early 2021.

The responses have shared examples of action that are helpful to diversifying the teaching profession. This paper signals some institutions against each action as examples. It should not be taken that institutions not named against an action are not engaging in similar.

  • Online Access courses for English (SCQF 6) and Maths (5,6 and 7) - https://on.abdn.ac.uk/access/ (Aberdeen)
  • All overseas applications are reviewed by academic staff in ITE (e.g. Head of Teacher Education) to ensure that relevant equivalencies are recognised. (University of Highlands and Islands) UHI
  • Career events for 3rd and 4th year undergraduates to advance STEM recruitment to be extended to promote Post Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) programmes to Under Graduate students from ethnic and minority groups to point to teaching as a future career. (Glasgow)
  • Where possible pairing of Black and Minority Ethnic students at interview (Dundee)
  • Working with recruitment, marketing and transitions to promote interest in the study of music and music education from a young age among minority ethnic communities. This work will also extend to work with parents and teachers to convince them that music teaching is a viable career pathway. (Royal Conservatoire)
  • Holding inclusive family friendly open evenings allowed Black and minority ethnic applicants to bring family members to discuss and provide reassurance on how their family would be supported on the programme (Edinburgh Napier)
  • Establishing live links with Black and minority ethnic communities through alumni (Edinburgh Napier)
  • Co-create recruitment materials with Black and minority ethnic students (Edinburgh Napier)
  • Black and minority ethnic students to be represented at every open day and other recruitment activities (Royal Conservatoire, Strathclyde, Stirling, UWS)
  • Pro-active recognition of the life experiences of Black and minority ethnic students through encouragement to focus on Black and minority ethnic issues as part of reflective logs (Edinburgh Napier)
  • Providing peer mentoring and coaching for Black and minority ethnic students as appropriate (UHI)
  • Working in partnership with local authorities through the University Teacher Education Partnership to address issues of recruitment, marketing and curriculum/programme development to promote race equality as core conceptual constructs across all aspects of teacher education (Edinburgh)
  • Working with academic partners e.g. further education colleges and through the Developing the Workforce agenda to widen participation and provide support for students from under-represented backgrounds (UHI)
  • 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 (UHI)
  • Improve the racial literacy of ITE staff (University of West of Scotland (UWS), UHI, Queen Margaret's University (QMU)
  • Exploring the setting up of a specific School-funded scholarship to attract a Black and minority ethnic candidate for the primary PGDE (Edinburgh)
  • Ensuring Black and minority ethnic representation during the interview processes for teacher education (Edinburgh)
  • Working with University Planners to obtain granular data relating to minority ethnic students looking at applications, interviews, entry and progression. (Dundee, Glasgow)
  • Set up a specific working group on admissions with the remit to review the admissions process and all documentation and guidance to ensure compliance with equality and diversity policies. As part of this the working group will work with the admissions team to ensure racial literacy in staff development of interviewers and selection teams. (Glasgow, Edinburgh, UWS)
  • Compile an audit of the curriculum to promote culturally-responsive pedagogies, anti-racist education and the decolonisation of the curriculum (Dundee, Conservatoire, UWS, QMU)
  • Ensure the use of materials which are diverse in terms of content: examples, sources, scenarios, case studies (Dundee, Glasgow, Stirling)
  • Working towards developing anti-racist activism amongst ITE staff and students (QMU)

As part of the responses, there were suggestions for a national response to assist meeting the target of 4% of the workforce being of black and minority ethnic background by 2030.

  • Agreeing a targeted and co-ordinated effort nationally aimed at Black and minority ethnic communities to generate interest in teaching as a profession with clear assistance to support the application and familiarisation process.
  • Recognition of the Teaching Qualification Further Education (TQFE) as a route to increasing the diversity of teachers in Scotland.


Email: sian.balfour@gov.scot

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