Co-authored by Jessy Ahluwalia (Diversity and Inclusion Staff Lead) and Anne-Marie Canning (CEO)
It is one month since the publication of the government’s Commission on Race Disparities Report. Since then, the report has received widespread media coverage and scrutiny for some of its claims, conclusions and credibility. The report most notably rejects the concepts of structural and institutional racism.
One of our key values at The Brilliant Club is that we seek and act on the best data available. When it comes to the world of higher education, the data shows us there is a stark difference in undergraduate outcomes for people of different ethnicities. 82% of White students graduate with a 1st or 2:1 compared to 60% of Black graduates. Among Asian graduates, the proportion gaining a 1st or 2:1 degree is 72 per cent. 1 Disaggregated data published by the Office for Students shows variation in continuation rates for undergraduates of different ethnicities with some students leaving their studies at higher rates than others.2 Structural racism and discrimination is a reality for many of the pupils and students we support at The Brilliant Club. To claim otherwise holds back the work needed to create a more just education system and society. Together, with our university and school partners we remain clear-sighted about the challenges. Our colleagues in the sector are also sharing their reflections, with compelling responses from The Access Project and Causeway Education.
￼The Commission on Race Disparities Report raises the importance of intersectionality. As a charity serving young people from a range of backgrounds, we will continue to ensure these intersections of underrepresentation or disadvantage are addressed. Race is not the only influential factor on a person’s life; it is the interplay between race, class, gender, sexuality, and geography that must be the basis of our work. This interplay means consequences of institutional racism are even more damaging for certain groups in society.
We cannot fix societal inequalities overnight, or alone, as a small charity. But we are determined to play our part in making society more inclusive and fairer. We’ve thought carefully about how we can do this in our work with young people and through our responsibilities as an employer. We are at the beginning of that journey – and we still have work to do – but we wanted to share some of the diversity and inclusion work we have developed so far.
These actions are part of a broader diversity and inclusion drive at The Brilliant Club that has seen us eradicate our gender pay gap, enhance our maternity and paternity provision, engage with our staff community about inclusion, and diversify our Board of Trustees membership.
The past year has shown us that we must all use our power whether it is institutional or individual, to build a table long enough for everyone to be in this conversation. We are committed to making change, continuously reflecting and improving, and we’ll keep you updated on our progress.
If you’d like to talk to us about any of the ideas we’ve shared, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.