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The privilege of student success: ethnicity awarding gaps in higher education?

Online Event
County / Region
United Kingdom
Position on the Pathway
All categories
Fellowship Category
All Fellowship Categories
Event Type
Virtual Workshop
Start Date
End Date
3 hours
Institution Type
Higher Education and Further Education
Price From


Policy makers, practitioners and researchers are paying increasing attention to awarding gaps in Higher Education. Advance HE publishes data annually detailing the size of these gaps. For example, in the academic year 2018/19, 81.4% of white students received a first/2:1 compared with 68.0% of BAME students, representing a BAME degree awarding gap of 13.3 percentage points. Most concerning, there has been little change in the size of this gap since the publication of the first Advance HE statistical report in 2003/04.

This insight event will present the most up to date data on awarding gaps in UK HE highlighted by the 2020 Advance HE statistical report, with particular focus on ethnicity and race. But it is not enough to simply point to the current problem. The event will also convene important discussions about the barriers to achieving equal academic outcomes for students, and the practical steps that can be taken to finally start to reduce these gaps. We will discuss the reasons some groups of students have very high attainment at school, but not at university, and where there are pockets of good practice in UK HE. This will include contributions from experts and facilitated group discussions among attendees.


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Event programme

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The privilege of student success: ethnicity awarding gaps in higher education?

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Who should attend?

Anyone with responsibility for advancing equality, diversity and inclusion within their institution who would like to improve their understanding. Those working with staff and students on areas relating to EDI, for teaching, research or the wider student experience.

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Gary Loke
Gary Loke is Director of Knowledge, Innovation and Delivery at Advance HE where he is responsible for leading on research, thought leadership and content delivery of Advance HE’s services.  Prior to his current role, Gary was Deputy Chief Executive at Equality Challenge Unit (ECU). At ECU, he led on numerous projects, including joint guidance with the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Universities UK on the intersection of equality legislation and the Prevent duty. 

Find out more about Gary
Gary Loke

Dr Amanda Aldercotte (AA), Head of Knowledge and Research 
Amanda has led Advance HE’s research team since November 2017 and over the course of the last three years has helped establish team’s unique position as qualified researchers working within the realms of higher education and equality, diversity and inclusion. Amanda’s expertise lies in quantitative methods, including conducting nationally representative surveys, designing and implementing impact evaluations for social programmes, analysing national datasets to extract trends over time and using longitudinal datasets to depict developmental changes.

Amanda Aldercotte

Dr Natasha Codiroli McMaster – Quantitative Researcher 
Natasha is a quantitative researcher at Advance HE and is experienced in using large-scale longitudinal survey data to examine social issues. Natasha leads on the Advance HE annual statistical reports, using HESA data to understand the profile, participation and outcomes of students and staff in Higher Education (HE), with a particular focus on equality, diversity and inclusion. Natasha holds a PhD in quantitative social research from the Institute of Education, UCL. Her research focused on the relationship between student choices in Higher Education, their graduate outcomes, and their ethnicity, gender and social background.

Natasha Codiroli McMaster

Dr Omar Khan
Dr Omar Khan joined TASO as a director in June 2020. Omar will lead TASO’s transition into an independent charity, developing its team and strategy to widen participation in higher education and eliminate equality gaps between students.

Omar joined TASO from race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust, where he had been Director since 2014. As Director of the Runnymede Trust, Omar grew the organisation and increased its profile. Prior to this, Omar was Head of Policy at the Runnymede Trust and led its financial inclusion programme.

Omar holds several advisory positions, including chair of Olmec, chair of the Ethnicity Strand Advisory Group to Understanding Society, chair of the advisory group of the Centre on Dynamics of Ethnicity at the University of Manchester, Commissioner on the Financial Inclusion Commission and a member of the 2021 REF and 2014 REF assessment. Omar was previously a Governor at the University of East London and a 2012 Clore Social Leadership Fellow.

Dr Omar Khan

Ruqia Osman
Ruqia is the former Education Officer at the University of Bath Students’ Union and is now working as a race equality community development worker whilst working on a community project called Dream Space that is designed to be a creative space for the Community in Bath to share their stories, dreams and solutions on three main areas:  social inequalities, racism and climate justice. Over the past year, she worked with students to shape the anti-racist work that the University should be undertaking to create a more safe, accessible, and inclusive environment for their minority students.

Ruqia Osman

Heidi Safia Mirza
Heidi Safia Mirza is visiting Professor at Goldsmiths, University of London. Professor Mirza's work focuses on gender, race, faith and culture using postcolonial and black feminist theoretical frameworks to explore equality and human rights issues for Muslim, Black and minority communities. Coming from Trinidad and schooled in Brixton she is one of the first female professors of colour in UK and was awarded the prestigious # Eight Women of Colour Awards. She has widely researched educational inequalities, including the experiences of young Black and Asian women in school and processes of racialisation in higher education.  Her recent work explores current debates on multiculturalism and diversity, as well as cultural and religious difference, Islamophobia and gendered violence.

Professor Mirza’s teaching includes her pioneering masters Course Race, Gender and Social Justice. She also supervises doctoral students in the cutting-edge field of social and cultural identity and has an excellent completion rate. Her PhDs student’s projects include studies on race, faith, gender, class and culture in educational settings; refugees and migration; multiculturalism and Islamophobia; gender and sexual violence; Muslim and Asian women in education.

Professor Mirza was appointed by the Minister of State for Education to the Government’s Schools Standards Task Force, where she shaped many initiatives to  raise standards in education for Caribbean and minority ethnic pupils.  She also established the Runnymede Collection at the BCA (Black Cultural Archives), a race-relations archive documenting the late 20th Century civil rights struggle for Multicultural Britain. She was Commissioner on the GLA Mayor's Commission on African and Asian Heritage and appointed by the Lord Chancellor to the Advisory Council on National Records and Archives (TNA). She is an expert consultant to English Heritage advising on Blue Plaques and bringing in under-represented groups into the English national story.

Heidi Safia Mirza

Related reports

With over 15 years of resources to access and as convener of current thinking, knowledge and insight into the key sector opportunities and challenges, Advance HE’s exists to help higher education shape its future. Related reports include:

Equality in higher education: statistical report 2020

Student Academic Experience Survey Report 2020