How We Are Closing Our Gap

At Canterbury Christ Church University we value diversity and believe that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to succeed. Equality, diversity and inclusion are central to our ethos and underpin everything that we do.

Universities UK identified that nationally there is an attainment gap between students of different ethnicities at the vast majority of universities, with inequalities in higher education mirroring those in wider UK society.

Our work with the Office for Students (OfS) has led us to understand that although there were no significant gaps for students of other ethnicities, the attainment gap for our black students is of serious concern and we will be taking a whole University approach, working in partnership with our Students’ Union, to reduce it.

Our Aim

Together, with the Students’ Union, we are committed to close the degree attainment gap for our black students and other student profiles with diversity characteristics.

In our Access and Participation Plan for 2020/2021 to 2024/2025 we outline the following priorities for our black students around access, continuation and progression:

  • To reduce the non-continuation gap between black and white students from 3% to 0%
  • To reduce the attainment gap between black and white students from 42% to 24%
  • To reduce the graduate employment gap between black and white students from 6% to 0%

Our Approach

Success will be delivered through collaboration, challenge, personal and professional development and policy and procedural changes.

Our strategy will be informed by the study of sector best practice, case studies and reports published by HESA, Advance HE, Universities UK and the Office for Students. 


Our University’s approach is underpinned by strong leadership, with the Senior Management Team and Governing Body leading by example and taking responsibility for change, with strong BAME representation.

Closing Our Gap Steering Group

The Closing our Gap Steering Group provides strategic direction in developing a holistic approach to resolving the attainment gap. Jointly chaired by the Deputy Vice- Chancellor Helen James and the Closing Our Gap Strategic Lead Mary Mackinde, the Group will provide oversight of activity to reduce this gap, ensuring an integrated and University-wide approach is developed.

The work and activities associated with Closing Our Gap are complex and varied, therefore in order to organise our thinking and planning, a strategic framework has been developed.The framework provides a clear overview of the work with associated timescales and will be used to track and monitor over time. Through consultations with staff and students across the institution, we have identified work strands that have been grouped under three categories: Culture, Curriculum and Community.

Contact: Mary Makinde, Strategic Lead: Closing our Gap, mary.makinde@canterbury.ac.uk

Inclusive Curriculum Working Group

The Inclusive Curriculum Working Group acts throughout the University to evolve our learning and teaching practices in order to make them more inclusive for all our students and colleagues. It has five aims:

  1. To evolve University mechanisms to formalize embedding of inclusive practice and curriculum across the University.
  2. To review staff development activity encompassing induction and mandatory staff development from a learning and teaching perspective, to update and encompass strategies to support all 18 protected characteristics with a particular focus on international and BAME student profiles.
  3. Work to evolve structures, roles and responsibilities in faculties to ensure consistency across the University.
  4. Target the generation of metrics to audit and analyse programmes for inclusive practice and recommend interventions where required.
  5. Engage our students in helping us shape our approaches to the delivery of an inclusive curriculum.

Contact Dr Gavan Lennon, gavan.lennon@canterbury.ac.uk.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The purpose of this Committee is to:

  • Advise the Governing Body via the Vice-Chancellor’s report on action needed to meet the duties of equalities legislation and the University’s equality and diversity policies;
  • Co-ordinate, monitor and support the implementation of the University’s Equality Objectives;
  • Ensure the involvement of people with the relevant protected characteristics in the implementation and review of plans affecting them;
  • Benchmark progress in relation to effective practice elsewhere and disseminate effective practice across the University.

Contact: equality-and-diversity@canterbury.ac.uk.

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Last edited: 07/08/2020 16:27:00