The data highlights some issues we are aware of, and are actively working to address.
Our Access and Participation Plan 2020-21 to 2024-25 sets out how we aim to do this, working to improve equality of opportunity for under-represented groups to access further study, achieve success at University and progress to graduate level employment. We have made progress in some areas since this plan was implemented and it will soon be replaced by our new Access and Participation Plan for 2024-25 to 2027-28.
We are clear we must close gaps at all stages of the student lifecycle, as well as attainment, this includes access, continuation and completion. How we intend to address all these areas is detailed in our Access and Participation Plan. Smaller groups including part-time and mature students must not be left behind. We will work to ensure all aspects of the university experience are inclusive and empowering all students to succeed.
The gaps we’ve identified
The gaps we’ve identified in the attainment data that forms the transparency return are:
- a lower percentage of black students attain the highest degree classifications (1st and 2:1) compared to white students
- students are less likely to attain the highest degree classifications (1st and 2:1) if they are from the most deprived areas (EIMD quintile 1 areas) than if they are from the least deprived areas (EIMD quintile 5 areas). The English Index of Multiple Deprivation (EIMD) measures the areas of England by relative deprevation, where quintile 1 represents the most deprived areas and quintile 5 the least deprived areas.
We are also looking at attainment performance gaps for other groups not measured in this data. For example, mature full-time students on their first degree are less likely to attain the highest degree classifications than their younger counterparts.
The progress so far
Since we implemented our Access and Participation Plan 2020-21 to 2024-25, we have seen the degree awarding gap drop for most ethnic minority groups, apart from black students. Whilst we will still work with all minoritised groups, this is why we have now set a target highlighting the degree awarding gap between black and white students.
To address the attainment gaps highlighted above we are:
- implementing more inclusive pedagogies through our Curriculum Redefined programme
- continuing to work on decolonising the curriculum
- implementing and developing a learner analytics system and supporting direct interventions from staff
- undertaking further research into inclusive teaching and learning
- addressing the hidden curriculum of embedded expectations with staff and through engagement with students prior to registration and on-course.
Our strategy for engaging with widening participation students across the student lifecycle is well established and was developed in collaboration with colleagues from Educational Engagement (who lead our engagement with young students) and the Lifelong Learning Centre (which leads our mature learner engagement) and consultation with departments across the university.
We expect to see identified gaps narrowing as initiatives begin to take effect and will carefully monitor and evaluate our internal performance to make sure improvements are made. Our work to improve, and in turn eliminate, gaps is underpinned by an evidence-based approach with a strong evaluation culture.
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. Find out more on the Equality Policy Unit website.