Ofsted and Ofqual boards criticised for lack of racial diversity

The watchdogs' all-white boards are highlighted in a report calling on the education sector to be more inclusive

Eleanor Busby

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The entirely white senior management teams of exams regulator Ofqual and schools watchdog Ofsted have come under fire as new research findings were released today showing the lack of diversity in the education sector.

The research also reveals that, on average, senior leaders at Russell Group universities are 97.6 per cent white, which is less diverse than the boards of FTSE 100 companies.

The findings are contained in a new report from executive search firm Green Park claiming that progress to improve diversity in the education sector continues to stall.

Raj Tulsiani, chief executive officer of Green Park, said: “We believe that the education sector wants to be more inclusive and this latest report, layered against the current political landscape, provides a timely reminder of just how much more can be done.”

Baroness Janet Royall of Blaisdon, incoming principal of Somerville College, Oxford, said: “The education sector, a sector whose sole purpose it is to provide knowledge, understanding and skills to future generations, is still failing at diversity; a proven pathway to greater innovation and compassionate ability.

“From local schools where only 2.4 per cent of leaders are ethnically diverse to our top universities, I find it shocking that we still haven’t been able to attract and harness adequate levels of diverse talent to help mend the escalating lack of trust within them."

An Ofqual spokesperson said: “All appointments to our board are regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments and we fully support their commitment to making Boards more diverse. The criteria that we look for in potential Board Members is the ability to think and act strategically and to provide high-level management and/or board experience, whether that be in the public or commercial sector.

"We welcome the report because we will soon be looking to recruit some new board members and would welcome applications from suitably qualified members of the BAME community who share our passion for delivering a robust qualifications and examinations system.

"We also welcome that the report recognises that Ofqual scores very highly in the area of gender diversity.”

Sarah Stevens, head of policy at the Russell Group, said: “Our members have tended to employ a higher percentage of staff from a BAME background than the higher education sector as a whole but we recognise that there is more work to be done, especially at a senior level.

She added: “This problem is not unique to higher education but we are determined to continue to make improvements.”

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Eleanor Busby

Eleanor Busby is a reporter at TES 

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