A Wee Flavour: Developing our Improving Gender Balance & Equalities roles

The Improving Gender Balance and Equalities (IGBE) team has now been in post for 6 months and in that time we have launched our twitter page @EdScotIGBE, met with numerous schools across the 6 Regional Improvement Collaboratives, planned & delivered workshops, developed resources and much more. While we excitedly await the arrival of the final 2 members of the team we thought we would give you a ‘wee flavour’ of what we have been up to.

Since January we have delivered training and workshops to probationers during Health & Wellbeing focus days, had brilliant discussions at twilights with probationers, practitioners and leadership staff and have begun to develop further CLPL opportunities in order to build capacity across Scotland and to ensure the sustainability of the programme. Training has been delivered to young leaders and foundation apprentices to help them develop their own understanding of the impacts of stereotyping and unconscious bias and so they can take that understanding into their interactions with younger learners.

Over the past few months we have supported settings to initiate IGBE activity under various priorities and umbrellas, such as: DYW, STEM, HWB, learning & teaching, assessment, attainment and evaluation.

A first conversation with a school/setting can be quite different depending on the context and current priorities of the setting. This tailored approach enables us to provide contextualised professional learning, classroom workshops, discussions, interventions and resources specific to each school/setting.

We have also been joining in conversations across the country with many STEM hubs, STEM providers and Equalities groups.

“There is a ceiling effect to how much we can learn if we keep to ourselves”

Fullen and Hargreaves (1991) as cited in Fullen (1993)

A large part of what we have been doing is our own professional learning. As a team we all bring different things to our roles: primary and secondary teaching, third sector experience and a breadth of knowledge on gender & equality issues and current research.


Aside from spending time learning from one another, as a team we have worked with regional colleagues and the colleagues above to develop our knowledge and understanding of their roles and priorities.

As a new team we have enjoyed working both internally and externally of Education Scotland to raise awareness of IGBE and the work we are doing. We support lots of formal educational settings, but we also collaborate with informal learning providers to share thinking and practice.

We have been developing lots of interesting new resources to help challenge gender stereotypes and address unconscious bias. We have developed content for Parentzone Scotland and can explore approaches with schools/settings who wish to engage with parents regarding gender balance and equalities. We have, with Dr Sarah McGeown from Moray House school of Education, University of Edinburgh, published a literature review of the current research surrounding and underpinning the Improving Gender Balance and Equalities approach. We have (also with Sarah) delivered an online webinar. Click here to watch the webinar.

We are keen to work in partnership with other organisations. We attended Gender Friendly Nursery training and are collaboratively considering how we could work together. We have learned more about the pilot project the NHS is doing which is aimed at younger children to tackle the stereotypes around and gender imbalance within nursing. We are excited to see how we can support this initiative.

We’d love to share and highlight interesting practice as well as discuss initial or next steps. So if you are reading all of this and you think; “my school is already doing work on this”, “I want to get involved” or “how do I get some support?” then contact us at IGBE@educationscotland.gov.scot .

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