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Response to Sewell Report

07 Apr 2021 | Advance HE Advance HE responds to the Sewell Report and restates its commitment and approach to tackling race inequality.

Advance HE exists to support its members to be the best they can be, as accessible, inclusive institutions, representative of the society we live in. This requires proactively tackling inequalities, and it is important for us to be explicit and transparent with our members on how we approach our race equality work.

Our own evidence shows that significant racial inequalities amongst students and staff persist in our sector, from the awarding gap and continuation rates for students to the lower proportions of both UK and non-UK Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff on open-ended/permanent contracts, in senior management positions, and on higher salary bands.

Advance HE confirms that we do, and will continue to, approach ‘race equality’ work from the position that structural and institutional racism exists. Acknowledging and understanding structural racism is required to address the impact that racism has on students and staff, and its contribution to intersectional inequalities. This is highlighted in our recent publication, ‘Understanding Structural Racism in UK Higher Education”.

We take this position based on the long standing scholarship, expertise, evidence and experiences of our members and communities in higher education and research. We value their labour and their insights, particularly noting that much of this scholarship and evidence gathering has been led by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students.

Structural racism is a key part of the academic foundation of our understanding and work on race equality, and is embedded in our solutions and offers, including the Race Equality Charter and our work Tackling structural race inequality in higher education'.

We reiterate our unwavering commitment to support all our members in their work to remove barriers to success, drive out inequalities and to tackle racism so that all their students and staff can thrive and realise their potential and ambitions.

Find out more about our work Tackling structural race inequality in higher education, and our Race Equality Charter, the framework through which institutions work to identify and self-reflect on institutional and cultural barriers standing in the way of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff and students.

We have also developed a portfolio of support, which can be tailored to institutional need, to tackle racism and race inequality, find out more here.


We feel it is important for voices to be heard to stimulate debate and share good practice. Blogs on our website are the views of the author and don’t necessarily represent those of Advance HE.

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