Changing the face of the Scottish teaching profession? the experiences of refugee teachers

Kum, H. and Menter, I. and Smyth, Geri (2010) Changing the face of the Scottish teaching profession? the experiences of refugee teachers. Irish Educational Studies, 29 (3). pp. 321-338. ISSN 0332-3315 (

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The Refugees Into Teaching in Scotland (RITeS) project has been funded by the Scottish government since 2006 to offer support and guidance to refugee teachers in Scotland. A research study aligned with the RITeS project took place from 2007–2008, funded by the West of Scotland Wider Access Forum. The research was managed by a multi-partner group of researchers from higher and further education institutions, local authorities and professional bodies.1 Through in-depth interviews with a sample of refugee teachers in the West of Scotland, the research project explored key differences in educational systems, curricula and pedagogies between countries of origin and Scotland. Bernstein's insights concerning educational message systems were helpful in understanding the data. This paper focuses on the findings from the interviews, analysing experience, expertise, differences and similarities and barriers faced by refugees attempting to move into teaching in Scotland, as well as exploring their hopes for the future. The paper argues for the importance of overcoming such barriers in order to enable a more linguistically and culturally diverse teaching profession in Scotland. Although the paper draws from the specific context of teaching in Scotland, it also demonstrates relevance to wider international issues of migration, diversity, and globalisation.