Social justice in Scottish teaching

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

The draft Professional Standards for teachers in Scotland now include a section which highlights the professional values of social justice, trust and respect and integrity as being at the heart of what it means to become, to be and to grow as a teacher in Scotland.

The General Teaching Council for Scotland says that Professional Standards involve a "commitment to the professional values of social justice, trust and respect and integrity are at the heart of the Professional Standards and underpin our relationships, thinking and professional practice in Scotland".

Under professional values, the draft says that social justice "is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities".  Here's what it involves:

  – Promoting health and wellbeing of self, colleagues and the children and young people in my care.
  – Building and fostering positive relationships in the learning community.
  – Embracing locally the global educational and social values of sustainability, equality, equity, and justice and recognising children’s rights.
  – Demonstrating a commitment to engaging learners in real world issues to enhance learning experiences and outcomes, and to encourage learning our way to a better future.
  – Committing to social justice through fair, transparent, inclusive, and sustainable policies and practices in relation to protected characteristics, (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, sexual orientation) and intersectionality.
  – Valuing, as well as respecting, social, cultural, religious, and racial diversity and promoting the principles and practices of local and global citizenship for all learners.
  – Demonstrating a commitment to motivating, and including all learners, understanding the influence of gender, social, cultural, racial, ethnic, religious and economic backgrounds on experiences of learning, taking account of specific learning needs and seeking to reduce barriers to learning.
  – Demonstrating a commitment to supporting learners who are experiencing or who have experienced trauma, children and young people from a care experienced background and understanding responsibilities as a corporate parent.
  – Understanding and challenging discrimination in all its forms, particularly that which is defined by the Equality Act.
There is much here that's obvious, although you have to wonder what "and intersectionality" is doing there – especially being tagged on to all those protected characteristics as though it were one of them as opposed to being a highly contentious political project bred in USA universities.  Can there be no social justice without a commitment to intersectionality then?  Is that really what the GTCS is saying?  If so, it seems to be stepping beyond the legal framework within which it is supposed to operate.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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