More people are being encouraged to retrain as teachers in Scotland’s secondary schools in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – known as STEM subjects.
The success of the STEM bursary programme saw 107 bursaries approved totalling more than £2 million – exceeding its original target of 100. The subjects eligible for bursaries of up to £20,000 were Chemistry, Computing Science, Mathematics, Physics and Technology.
The extension of the STEM bursary scheme will be available for those wishing to apply for teacher training places in August 2019.
The bursary will enable those who would like a change of career to apply for the bursary and to retrain as teachers gaining the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE).
John Swinney, Deputy First Minister in the Scottish Government said:
” It is important we have specialist teachers who can bring their enthusiasm into classrooms. This bursary is just one of the actions underway to make a career in teaching more accessible to more people.”
The Scottish Government is also to act upon recommendations from a working group looking at making the teaching workforce more diverse.
Chair of the working group Professor Rowena Arshad OBE said:
“Black and minority ethnic teachers and probationers told us that ethnicity, the colour of your skin, how your faith, language and nationality do matter on whether you are made to feel included. They also shared examples of racism they had experience on probation, such as being given different support levels to white probationers. However, the majority of employers and education providers do not see this as an issue, so we have a huge awareness gap that needs to be addressed.
“Our report provides practical recommendations with action points which are achievable. If all education providers work together, we can make a difference in the next ten years.”
You can read the report here:Teaching in a diverse Scotland: increasing and retaining minority ethnic teachers
The report states:
“Action is therefore required and necessary from all involved in teaching, including universities, local authorities and schools to effectively engage with this issue by promoting teaching as an attractive and worthwhile career for minority ethnic students and then being committed to supporting them throughout their careers. Action is also required to educate all concerned on how such diversification can be supported and how everyday racism as well as unconscious bias become deterrents and disablers.”
- The number of teachers from ethnic minority backgrounds across the whole
profession is 672 or 1.4% of the workforce.
- The number of teachers from ethnic minority backgrounds in the primary sector is 253 or 1.0% of the workforce.
- The number of teachers from ethnic minority backgrounds in the secondary
sector is 393 or 1.7% of the workforce. (not disaggregated by subject area)
- The number of teachers from ethnic minority backgrounds in the special sector is 26 or 1.4% of the workforce.
For promoted posts:
- The number of teachers from ethnic minority backgrounds in promoted posts
across the whole profession is 75 or 0.6% of the total number.
- The number of teachers from ethnic minority backgrounds in promoted posts in the primary sector is 19 or 0.4% of the total number.
- The number of teachers from ethnic minority backgrounds in promoted posts in the secondary sector is 53 or 0.8% of the total number.
John Swinney said:
“We must be absolutely sure there is no bias or complacency at every level, from our university admissions or teacher recruitment processes to promotion and progression within local authorities.
“We also need to find and celebrate positive role models and make a concerted effort to talk to young people from minority ethnic backgrounds about the benefits of a teaching career. I expect all partners to act on these recommendations and increase the ethnic diversity of the teaching profession in Scotland.”
Reporter: Fiona Grahame