OfS responds to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities report

Chris Millward, director for fair access and participation, responds to the Commission's report into racial and ethnic disparities in the UK.

On 31 March 2021, the Commission on Race and Ethic Disparities published an independent report.

Commenting on the Commission's report, Chris Millward, our director for fair access and participation, said:

‘Reducing inequality in one stage of the educational system often leads to new frontiers at another. We are seeing great progress on Black, Asian and minority ethnic students getting into university, but they experience worse outcomes once they get there. As well as being less likely to achieve a 2:1 or higher, some of these groups of students are less likely to find graduate level work or progress to academic careers. This is why the OfS regulates participation as well as access, and we work with universities to tackle the specific challenges they face for their own mix of students.

‘We make clear through our regulatory guidance that universities and colleges should focus on individual characteristics and intersections between them, rather than aggregating through categories such as ‘BAME’. We also focus strongly, both through our regulation and our outreach funding, on support for white students in the parts of the country where there are very low levels of progression to university, which are mostly post-industrial towns and parts of cities across the north, midlands and coastal towns. It will be crucial to open up opportunities in areas like these if we are to meet the government’s ambition of levelling up the country.

‘We will consider carefully the Commission’s advice on the priorities and approach for university outreach, which builds on the findings of our own evaluative work and the steps we are taking to strengthen this.’

Published 31 March 2021

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