This is the first year universities have published transparency data and we expect our approach to evolve over time. The transparency data has highlighted a number of issues of which we were already aware, and are actively working to resolve.
The gap in offers made between white and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), particularly black students, and subsequent acceptances is an area of focus for us, as is the difference in applications, offers and registrations between Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) quintiles 1 and 5. We are also looking carefully at how we close the attainment gap between BAME and white students, with a specific target set in our new Access and Participation Plan.
Our approach to outreach, on a local and national scale, generates significant numbers of applications through our contextual admissions scheme, Access to Leeds
This operates across every course we offer and enables students who meet two or more criteria (including measures such as Index of Multiple Deprivation, no family history of higher education, Low Participation Neighbourhood (LPN) and low income) to demonstrate their potential through more than grades alone. Consequently, Access to Leeds has been successful in recruiting 57.1% of our LPN cohort, and a high proportion of our BAME students. We have seen improvement over the last five years with growth of the proportion of IMD Q1 and no proportional growth of IMD Q5.
We are also part of Realising Opportunities a collaboration of research-intensive universities working with shared objectives to eliminate the national gap in entry rates at higher-tariff providers between the most and least under-represented groups.
While our approach has resulted in an increasing number of undergraduate entrants from widening participation, our prior analysis of internal data had identified potential for improvement in conversion between application, offer and acceptance. Our priority for access focuses on our admissions processes to improve offer making and acceptance for some under-represented groups, with increasing use of contextual data.
We have analysed our recruitment performance in relation to white and BAME students and can note an improvement in the ratio in the past five years, particularly in comparison to the sector. Trend analysis suggests that our BAME recruitment performance grew at the same rate as the sector until 2017/18 at which point there was a more pronounced increase in our BAME recruitment, which coincided with a 5% increase of BAME students progressing through our Access to Leeds scheme.
Our review of Access to Leeds recruitment figures shows that the scheme continues to facilitate the recruitment of a significant proportion of our BAME students (14.1% black Caribbean, 27.3% black African). Further details of our analysis can be found in our Access and Participation Plan 2020/21 2024/25
We will continue to focus on increasing access to the University for BAME students. This includes increasing our investment to target BAME, particularly black Caribbean, students following pilot interventions to measure impact.
We anticipate that progress will accelerate over time and our aspiration is that gaps in access amongst under-represented groups will be eliminated.
With regard to BAME attainment, we have set an institutional five-year target in our Access and Participation Plan to close the unexplained gap between the proportion of BAME students attaining a 2:1 degree compared with the proportion of white students attaining a 2:1 or above.
Institutional research is underway to develop our understanding of the reasons for this gap and we are working to implement actions including a review our curriculum content, building on the work of our Students Union campaign, Why is my Curriculum White?
. Institutional and sector-level research reinforces the importance of addressing gaps in the context of other inequalities. We are clear that we must close gaps at all stages of the student lifecycle, including non-continuation, and smaller groups including part-time students must not be left behind.
We know that the student voice is crucial and will be developing additional ways to facilitate this through our Partnership Agreement. This will include the appointment of diversity ambassadors and exploration of alternative ways to share student experience to bring about change.
A diverse academic and professional community is likely to contribute to diverse perspectives and approaches. With this in mind, we will work with HR, and related areas, to explore how we will develop this. It will include a review of the ways in which we can diversify the pipeline of potential staff through work at postgraduate teaching and postgraduate research level as well as the opportunity for apprenticeships for professional staff.
We are also looking at attainment performance gaps for other groups, particularly where there are intersections of disadvantage. Our work to enable early identification of learners through enhanced use of data and dedicated staff will build on the success of our Plus Programme which supports entrants via Access to Leeds and other vulnerable groups. This should contribute to reducing the gap in performance between IMD Quintiles 1 and 2 and 3 to 5. We expect to see the identified gaps narrowing over the next five years as initiatives begin to take effect and will be carefully monitoring and evaluating our internal performance to ensure improvements are made.
Our work to improve, and in turn eliminate gaps, is underpinned by an evidence-based approach with a strong evaluation culture. We intend to develop our approach focusing on the priorities outlined in the Evaluation Strategy section of our Access and Participation Plan 2020/21 2024/25
Equality Policy Unit Student Data
Please note that our Equality Policy Unit also publishes student data concerning admissions, registration and degree classification. However, this data is not the same as our Transparency data as it considers a different mix of students, including data on EU students as well as UK students. Further details can be found at the Equality Policy Unit