Monday 1 June 2020

Race Equality organisations write to Education Secretary demanding that the Dfe step in to ensure objectivity in grading, after exam cancellations

For the last month a number of race equality organisations and academic experts have been in contact with the Education Secretary expressing concerns about grading and assessments in light of the cancellation of exams.

Today Race on the Agenda (ROTA) writes again to Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson asking that the Department for Education provide more support to schools and teachers.

Author of this latest letter, Poornima Karunacadacharan, Policy Officer at ROTA said“While we are aware that the Department for Education are doing their best in these exceptional circumstances, we are concerned that equality issues are not being given due consideration.”

In April 2020 a coalition of race equality organisations, including the Runnymede Trust and ROTA, wrote an open letter to Gavin Williamson, expressing concerns about the accuracy of grading and assessments in light of the exam cancellations.

The letter, which was also signed by several academic experts, urged the Department for Education to send guidance to teachers and schools to minimise the disproportionate impact on those who share Protected Characteristics. A follow-up letter resulted in an e-meeting between representatives from the Runnymede Trust and ROTA and staff members from Ofqual.

Following the meeting, Ofqual have taken on board some of the recommendations on how centres can fulfil their obligations under the PSED, including recommendations on how centres can use data from previous years to help identify potential bias. However, there are still concerns about centres’ understanding of how the equality duty should be applied in these exceptional circumstances.

Ms. Karunacadacharan, said“We feel the guidance and information provided by Ofqual is not sufficient to ensure compliance with the duty. We believe DfE is better placed to provide centres with such guidance. To that end, we once again urge DfE to remind schools of their equality duty.”

The most recent letter to the Gavin Williamson featuring their detailed recommendations is available HERE.



If you would like to interview Ms. Karunacadacharan, please contact the Communications Officer Lee Pinkerton at lee@rota.org.uk or on 07985 446 280




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Race on the Agenda (ROTA) is a London-based, BAME-led social policy organisation focused on issues affecting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. All ROTA’s work is based on the principle that those with direct experience of inequality should be central to solutions to address it. Our policy priorities of health, education and criminal justice are shaped by the lived experiences of BAME communities and their organisations.