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Equalitylink September 2015

Welcome September 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.

Equality update

It’s Work Life Week 2015!

21-25 September 2015

National Work Life Week aims to highlight the benefits of facilitating the well-being and work-life balance of all employees, so that they are engaged, motivated and productive at work.

Let us know what your institution is doing to encourage a good work-life balance: tweet us @EqualityinHE

World Mental Health Day 2015

Dignity in mental health

National statistics indicate that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. This year’s theme for World Mental Health Day is ‘dignity in mental health’ with an aim to raise awareness of what can be done to ensure that people with mental health problems can live with dignity.

Earlier this year, ECU launched guidance on how to support staff and students in higher education who are experiencing mental health difficulties. You can download this resource for free as well as look at our other guidance on this topic.

More information on World Mental Health Day 2015 can be found on the Mental Health Foundation’s website.

Eight universities first to receive award following end of trial for Race Equality Charter

In August, eight universities celebrated being the first recipients of the Race Equality Charter.

ECU’s Race Equality Charter, launched this academic year, follows in the footsteps of our renowned Athena SWAN Charter, and recognises excellence in advancing racial equality in higher education.

Read the full story on award winners

First Irish institutions to achieve prestigious Athena SWAN award are announced

Also announced in August, Trinity College Dublin and the University of Limerick celebrated becoming the first Irish institutions to receive the prestigious Athena SWAN award.

Both Trinity College Dublin and the University of Limerick received Bronze Athena SWAN awards for their institutions as a whole, with Trinity College Dublin also attaining Bronze awards at departmental level for the School of Chemistry, the School of Physics and the School of Natural Sciences.

Read the full story on award winners

Read coverage in the Times Higher, The Irish Examiner and The Irish Times


The UN women’s campaign

Senior Policy Adviser Gemma Tracey finds out more about UN Women’s HeForShe campaign by speaking to two UK universities – Leicester and Oxford – that are involved as impact champions.

Read Gemma’s blog

Tell us what your institution is doing to celebrate Black History month 2015

We would love to know what is going on in your institution this October to celebrate Black History month.

Tell us your plans and we can help you publicise them on our Twitterfeed.

We would also like to showcase some thoughts and ideas about the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education on our blog.

If you would like to submit a blog please email with an outline of your idea.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Our work

Have you subscribed to ECU yet?

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

As the start of the new term approaches, 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

Equality in colleges in Scotland

Statistical report 2015

Our latest report provides a full analysis of information on students during the 2013/14 academic year and provides data on age, disability, ethnicity and gender, as well as the interplay between these identities.

Download the report and data tables

Equality in outcome agreements in Scotland

All colleges, HEIs and the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) have a legal duty to mainstream equality across their work under the Equality Act 2010 public sector equality duty Scottish duties.

The duties also require delivery of institutions’ published equality outcomes by 2017. Outcome agreements are a key vehicle through which institutions and the SFC can meet these duties.

To complement the SFC’s guidance for 2016/17 outcome agreements, ECU has produced briefings for each sector to help institutions fulfil these enhanced equality requirements.

Download briefings on outcome agreements

ECU in Scotland: sector survey 2015

Help us to understand the impact of our work in Scotland.

Our current Scottish Funding Council (SFC) funding agreement (2013-15) is now complete, and so we are seeking to understand the impact this has had in the both the college and the higher education sectors and how we can better support higher education institutions (HEIs) and college in Scotland in the future, as we enter into a new three-year agreed funding period with the SFC.

Building on last year’s survey, this survey will:

  • help us to understand how our work has supported colleges in Scotland and the impact it has had
  • give you the opportunity to inform our work for academic year 2015-16

We have sent out personalised links via email to equality and diversity leads as well as principals in HEIs and colleges in Scotland. Please use your personalised link to complete the survey.

If you have not received an email, please see our website

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


Athena SWAN results for the April 2015 round

Athena SWAN results for the April 2015 round will be officially announce on the Thursday 1 October 2015.

The deadline for intentions to submit in the November 2015 round will be close of business on Wednesday 30 September 2015. Institutions will need to tell us by email their details and which level and process (either pre or post-May) they will apply for.

More about applying for ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter

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

The ECU team

ECU is currently looking to recruit a Researcher.

For more information on how to apply please visit our website.

We would also like to introduce some new staff who have recently joined the ECU team. Welcome to Tinu Cornish, Jessica Cockell and Sarah Fink, all Equality Charters Advisers and Kate Greene, Equality Charters Officer.


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

Get involved

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

Equality and Human Rights Commission reports on Scotland

On 14 September, Equality and Human Rights Commission published its review of Scottish public authorities’ performance of the Scottish duties entitled ‘Measuring Up? A report of public authorities performance in meeting the Scottish Specific Equality Duties’.

Download the report


The Demos Integration Hub explores ethnic integration across five distinct themes – residential patterns, work and welfare, society and everyday life, education, and attitudes and identity. It presents data and research and allows you to explore integration across England and Wales through interactive data maps.

Demos Integration Hub

Employer’s guide to Judaism

The Employer’s Guide to Judaism was launched by the Board of Deputies of British Jews this month.

The guide, which is available in print and online on the Board’s website, explains Jewish law and practice to employers who have Jewish employees.

Inclusion London equality factsheets

Inclusion London have published a factsheet providing key information about deaf and disabled and the inequalities experienced in education, employment, housing and health.

Stop online abuse

A website tackling online abuse aimed at women and LGBT people was launched over the summer called Stop Online Abuse.

The website, developed by the Government Equalities Office, Women’s Resource Centre, gires and other equality organisations contains useful information, signposting, resources and case studies as well as tools to report, complain and campaign on any media content that is deemed derogatory or offensive.

From freshers’ week to finals: Understanding LGBT people’s perspectives of higher education

LGBT young people are increasingly visible in policy and practice, often in relation to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying. However, this can result in misunderstandings and/or over-simplification about all LGBT students’ needs and experiences.

The #FreshersToFinals project was undertaken by Sheffield Hallam University (SHU) with support from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Youth and Student Organisation (IGLYO), the LGBT Foundation, LGBT Youth North West (LGBTYNW), the National Union of Students (NUS), Sheena Amos Youth Trust (SAYiT), and the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE), and sought to develop a more nuanced understanding of LGBT students’ experiences of higher education (HE).

The project’s aims were to:

  • raise public awareness of potential issues experienced by LGBT students and those considering entering higher education
  • increase practitioner and institutional awareness about LGBT students’ potential needs
  • identify any evidence gaps in the field
  • build and strengthen relationships with and between relevant organisations in the HE and LGBT sectors

The full report is available to download


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

Pakistani and Bangladeshi Diaspora Leaders Programme

3-5 October, London

Many Pakistani and Bangladeshi leaders in the diaspora remain very connected to their country of origin. Common Purpose is running a programme for these leaders that aims to build their capacity to contribute to development in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

This experience will help participants to:

  • stretch their analytical and creative skills
  • develop their Cultural Intelligence
  • enhance their ability to Lead Beyond Authority
  • build new networks
  • develop their thinking on possible futures for Pakistan and Bangladesh

Find out more about the programme and download the flyer

Opening Doors Conference 2015

20 October 2015, London

This ECU sponsored event aims to bring together practitioners and academics to discuss the important issue of gender and education. The conference will be presented by the Institute of Physics and Government Equalities Office.

The event sees the launch of the Opening Doors report, which looks at the barriers to breaking down gender stereotyping in schools.

Opening Doors Conference 2015

Discrimination Law Association annual conference

26 October, London

President of the Employment Tribunals, Judge Brian Doyle has been announced as the keynote speaker for the Discrimination Law Association annual conference in London on 29 October 2015.

More information on the conference programme

LJMU equality, diversity and human rights conference

4 November 2015, Liverpool

Liverpool John Moores University is holding a conference on equality, diversity and human rights.

The event will review the past 5 years since the Equality Act 2010; the impact both positive and negative on diversity, equality, and community cohesion and consider what positive changes could be made for the future.

ECU’s Chief Executive, David Ruebain will be speaking at the event.

Please note there is a charge to attend.

LJMU equality, diversity and human rights conference

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

Equality and diversity in higher education conference

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

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.