Open Menu Close Menu

Home News Equalitylink Equalitylink previous issues Equalitylink November 2015

Equalitylink November 2015



Welcome November 2015

Equality Challenge Unit works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education across all four nations of the UK, and in colleges in Scotland. Equalitylink is a monthly round-up of equality and diversity news, resources and ECU’s work with the sector.

ECU subscription

Find out how subscribing to ECU can help you and your institution advance equality and diversity.

Equality update

Ucas takes steps to limit unconscious bias in university admissions

Names to be removed from applications

Ucas are to take steps to reduce unconscious bias against students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds by removing candidates’ names from their application forms.

Ucas will be consulting with universities in advance of the new measures coming into force in 2017.

More information on unconscious bias.

Ucas annoucement on changes to the application process.

Recipients of Athena SWAN award announced

ECU have announced the most recent institutions and departments to receive an Athena SWAN award, the charter that recognises commitment to tackling gender inequality in higher education.

Ninety-seven awards were given out in total, comprising ten awards at institutional level and 87 at departmenthal level. University College London and the University of Edinburgh were successful in attaining the Athena SWAN Silver award, bringing the total number of institutions with a Silver award to seven.

Read more online

Attainment gap highlighted as key challenge in EHRC report

Closing the attainment gap in education has been identified as a key challenge in the latest ‘Is Britain Fairer?’ report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The report, which is published every five years, highlights areas where no progress has been made or Britain has become less fair for some groups over the last five years.

Read the full EHRC report

More on student attainment

Our work

Have you subscribed to ECU yet?

After consultation with the sector, ECU launched its subscription offer in July.

As we start the new academic year, we asked some of our very first subscribers to tell us why they have subscribed to ECU.

Sanchia Alasia, Equality and Diversity Manager at Brunel said: ‘I recommended that we stick with ECU because of the organisation’s expertise in supporting equality and diversity in higher education institutions.’

Marije Davidson, Equality and Diversity Adviser at York St John University remarked that ‘the approachability of ECU staff and their expertise’ has helped her to further the equality and diversity agenda in her institution.

Thank you to all those institutions who have already subscribed to ECU, we look forward to supporting you to further equality and diversity in your institutions in 2016.

To find out about the services and benefits we will be offering, how we responded to your feedback, and for details on how to subscribe for 2016, please visit our website

If you have any questions about the subscription model that aren’t covered on our website, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the ECU team. Contact us

Competence standards and reasonable adjustments

New guidance from ECU

A competence standard is a particular level of competence or ability that a student must demonstrate to be accepted on to, progress within and successfully complete a course or programme of study.

Higher education institutions have responsibility for developing non-discriminatory competence standards, and designing a study programme to address these competence standards.

ECU have produced new guidance called ‘Understanding the interaction of competence standards and reasonable adjustments’ supported by online case studies and a question and answer page.

Download the guidance now

Learning from the equality and diversity good practice fund

Working with FE providers in England

Equality and diversity good practice fund projects from across the country came together to share the guidance, videos, podcasts, training packs and even pens they had developed at the closing events in London and Manchester in summer 2015.

Further education colleges in England, apprenticeship and skills providers shared their successes, top tips and the practical knowledge they gained of what works with employers, vice-principals, national equality agencies, sector agencies and other providers.

Watch our video round-up of the events

Find out about each project and download resources

To keep up to date with all our work, follow us on Twitter @EqualityinHE

Get involved

Help plan ECU’s annual conference 2016

ECU are starting to plan our annual conference 2016 and are keen to involve institutions from the outset.

To volunteer as part of the working group and help make this conference our best yet, please email ECU’s Engagement Manager, Gemma Instrall.

ECU are seeking arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law Charter panellists

Participating in an equality charter mark
panel gives you an invaluable experience of the assessment process.

You will come away with a detailed understanding of how panels work, and insight into how other institutions analyse their data and make progress on their action plan.

Reading through a range of applications will also give you plenty of good practice ideas you may wish to consider implementing in your institution.

Being on a panel member also gives you an opportunity to build your professional networks and share learning among peers.

We are always seeking panellists with the following roles and specialisms:

  • Academics from arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law departments
  • Men from a broad range of roles across institutions

More information about becoming a panellist

Join your local equality network

Equality and diversity practitioners often work in isolation. Practitioner networks are a good way of finding local peer support and sharing good practice.

Practitioner networks are made up of representatives with responsibility for equality and diversity from higher education institutions in a particular region.

Find your local network meeting and information about other national and regional networks

More information about becoming a panellist

Resources and support

ECU’s statistical reports launched today

Annual reports are now available

ECU’s annual statistics reports for both staff and students have now been completed and are live on our website as of today. Hard copies will being sent to institutions shortly after.

As always, these reports provide a comprehensive overview of the makeup of both staff and students in higher education, and support equality and diversity professionals in understanding the equality landscape as well as benchmarking the progress of their own institution. From next year, our statistical reports will be available only to institutions that subscribe to ECU.

Reports are available here

Download last year’s reports

heidi Plus

HESA have announced heidi Plus will replace the current heidi web-based management information service.

The new service will be a significant enhancement to the current heidi offering, seeking to build on the already well-utilised system to improve data content and functionality and broaden heidi’s appeal to a wider range of users and roles. This will be achieved by delivery of heidi data sets through a commercially available data explorer tool to replace the current heidi interface.

There will also be a new layer of analyses and visualisations designed to meet key information requirements identified through engagement with a number of professional groups in UK higher education.

Find out more about heidi Plus

Lack of diversity in creative industries a business failure, says report

The Creative Industries Federation report into diversity in the workplace reveals that the sector is failing itself financially and socially by being inherently under-representative.

Find out more

Diversity and inclusion – the power of research in driving change

This new report is an analysis of past research into workplace diversity and inclusion across the NHS to determine how effective it has been in bringing about change with regard to the NHS becoming a more diverse and inclusive employer.

Read the full report


Share your events with us on Twitter, follow us @EqualityinHE

ECU and UUK conference: Equality and diversity in higher education

2 December 2015, London

Organised in partnership between Universities UK and the Equality Challenge Unit, this one-day conference brings together sector leaders to discuss and debate the complex, challenging and the most pertinent equality and diversity issues.

Sign up now


Annual Royal Society diversity conference: pride and prejudice – breaking down barriers in science

23 November, London

This year, the Society’s Annual Diversity Conference will examine the barriers to entry and progression in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that impact underrepresented groups with a particular focus on bias.

Keynote speaker is Harvard Professor Mahzarin R. Banaji, founder of Project Implicit will deliver an interactive seminar entitled ‘Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People’. Project Implicit is utilised extensively in the field of unconscious bias.

Sign up for free for the conference

‘Disability and the Equality Act 2010: removing barriers to equality and human rights implementation?’ A Caroline Gooding memorial seminar

4 December, Leeds

This half-day event focuses on the impact of recent changes to legal aid and other reforms. It aims to provide a space for reflection about how disability equality law might contribute to driving social change.

Speakers include Colin Low, House of Lords and Low Commission, Catherine Casserley, Cloisters Chambers and Adviser to the House of Lords Committee on the Equality Act 2010, Rhian Davies, Director of Disability Wales, and Catherine Rayner, Chair of the Discrimination Law Association.

More information

If you would like your event to be featured on our website and the next issue of Equalitylink, please email details to Gemma Instrall, Engagement Manager.

This email was sent to *|EMAIL|*

why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences