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The ethnicity and attainment gap in the UK HE sector Chris Brill Senior Policy Adviser Equality Challenge Unit The Open University ‘Access and Success for All’ 23 June 2011. A role of higher education in UK. ‘To play a major role in shaping a democratic, civilised, inclusive society’

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The ethnicity and attainment gap in the UK HE sectorChris BrillSenior Policy AdviserEquality Challenge UnitThe Open University ‘Access and Success for All’23 June 2011

a role of higher education in uk
A role of higher education in UK

‘To play a major role in shaping a democratic, civilised, inclusive society’

(Dearing report, 1997)

  • Increase in participation from ‘non traditional’ groups
  • But historic inequalities exist
equality challenge unit
Equality Challenge Unit
  • ECU works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education and seeks to ensure that staff and students are not unfairly excluded, marginalised or disadvantaged because of age, disability, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity status, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, or through any combination of these characteristics or other unfair treatment.
equality challenge unit1
Equality Challenge Unit
  • Projects – research and investigation
  • Publications – guidance and support
  • Advice line
  • Bespoke services
  • Equalitylink
  • Networks
  • Conferences
  • Good practice
background and context to degree attainment work
Background and context to degree attainment work
  • Long-standing recognition of differential achievement across ethnic groups
  • Broecke and Nicholls
  • Ethnicity, Gender and Degree Attainment Project (EGDA)
    • No simple answer but unlikely to be reducible to single knowable factors
    • Sector response variable
hea and ecu summit programme overview
HEA and ECU Summit Programme overview
  • 15 HEIs over 12 months to plan, develop and/or pilot initiatives
    • share practice designed to address differential degree attainment from across the sector;
    • focus on, and progress institutional work to address, an issue(s) relating to the success of BME students;
    • reflect on progress and outcomes and plan for future activity.
  • 3 events, commencing March 2009

Institutional activity

Source: ECU and HEA publication ‘Improving the degree attainment of black and minority ethnic students.’
enabling factors 1
Enabling factors (1)
  • Win argument at institutional level
    • Position initiatives within institutional mission
  • Alignment with key national and sector policy agendas
    • Policy commitments influence the allocation of resources
    • Student retention and support
    • Widening participation
    • Equality and diversity
    • Learning and teaching strategies
    • Internationalisation
enabling factors 2
Enabling factors (2)
  • Using existing infrastructure
    • Established committees with responsibilities for issues associated with student learning experience
  • Revising curriculum
  • Pre-existing interventions
  • Staff capacity and safe environments
  • Student engagement
  • Financial resources
    • Dedicated internal teaching and learning budgets and external
recommendations 1
Recommendations (1)
  • Embedding change
    • embed key performance indicators into all relevant institutional strategies
    • build degree attainment into quality assurance and enhancement processes;
    • use equality impact assessment to examine policies and practices impacting on student attainment
    • use promotion criteria and performance management frameworks as a means of driving changes
recommendations 2
Recommendations (2)
  • Monitoring and reporting
  • Leadership and responsibility
    • assign a lead
    • avoid over-reliance
    • consider using and/or support the development of champions
    • identify or establish an appropriate committee
    • distribute responsibility across committee structures;
    • engage active senior management support at institutional, faculty and service level.
recommendations 3
Recommendations (3)
  • Relationship building
    • build a ‘critical mass’ of support
    • involve the Students’ Union
    • foster a partnership approach
  • Develop expertise and share practice
    • disseminate learning
    • use continuing professional development and other training opportunities to raise staff awareness
  • Evaluation
contact details
Contact details
  • Higher Education Academy
    • Jane Berry, Adviser
  • Equality Challenge Unit
    • Gary Loke, Head of Policy
    • Chris Brill, Senior Policy Adviser