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Past event Part of series: President’s Roundtable Seminar Series

President’s Roundtable Seminar: Addressing Racial Disparities in Education After the Sewell Report: Implications for policy, practice and research

This event has been postponed and a new date will be confirmed soon.

Lead: Professor Leon Tikly, University of Bristol

The Report of the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Disparities (CRED), popularly known as the Sewell report, raised profound issues for policy makers, practitioners and researchers about how racial disparities in the English education system can be conceptualised, measured and addressed. The main claim in the report, that other factors besides racism are more likely to determine outcomes for different ethnic groups polarised opinion within the educational community. In making their claims, the authors of the report argue the need for ‘objective’, quantitative evidence rather than ‘subjective’ evidence based on ‘lived experience’. Critics of the report were quick to question the ‘objectivity’ of the findings, the dismissal by the authors of qualitative evidence of the lived experience of racism, and the denial of the institutionalised nature of racism in education. As a consequence, it was argued, the recommendations of the report, namely that government interventions should target socio-economic disadvantage rather than systemic racism were flawed.

The controversial nature of the report’s framing, methodology and findings raise profound questions about how racial disparities may be conceptualised, measured and acted upon now and in the future. The Presidential roundtable will bring together researchers, policy makers and practitioners and researchers to discuss the following questions:

  • How are racial disparities currently conceptualised in education policy? How might they be better conceived going forwards?
  • How might racial disparities be measured? What is the role of quantitative and qualitative research in evaluating racial disparities?
  • How useful is the concept of institutionalised racism for explaining racial disparities?
  • How might the relationship between race, class and gender be understood in understanding racial disparities?
  • What are priorities for policy and practice going forwards in addressing racial disparities?

The roundtable brings together leading figures in the debate representing research, policy and practice, each with diverse perspectives concerning the way forward. The roundtable will commence with four speakers each giving 10-minute presentations. They will be followed by four respondents who will each speak for 2-3 minutes each from their own perspectives and with the aim of stimulating debate.

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Profile picture of Leon Tikly
Leon Tikly, Professor

Professor in Education at University of Bristol

Leon is UNESCO Chair in Inclusive, Quality Education. He has researched and written extensively about race, ethnicity and education policy in the UK and in South Africa.


Profile picture of Dominic Wyse
Dominic Wyse, Professor

Professor of Early Childhood & Primary Education at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society

Dominic has made a leading contribution to research on curriculum and pedagogy, including national curricula, for more than 25 years. He has led multiple research projects and has published many books and research papers. Dominic’s main...


Profile picture of Kalwant Bhopal
Kalwant Bhopal, Professor

Professor at University of Birmingham

Kalwant’s research focuses on exploring how processes of racism, exclusion and marginalisation operate in White educational spaces. Her research has specifically been used to inform the development of the Race Equality Charter. Her recent book,...

Profile picture of Steve Strand
Steve Strand, Professor

Professor of Education at University of Oxford

Steve Strand has been Professor of Education at the University of Oxford since Jan 2013. Previously he was Professor of Education at the University of Warwick (2005-2012), Head of Research and Data Analysis at GL Assessment(1998-2005), and Head...


Profile picture of Rakib Ehsan
Rakib Ehsan, Dr

Research Analyst and Writer on Racial and Ethnic Disparities at Henry Jackson Society

Dr Rakib Ehsan is a research analyst and writer on racial and ethnic disparities in the UK. He is the author of the forthcoming book Beyond Grievance, which will be published by Swift Press in September 2022. Dr Ehsan's PhD thesis investigated...

Profile picture of Sharon Walker
Sharon Walker

Lecturer in Racial Justice and Education at University of Bristol

Sharon is a lecturer in racial justice and education at the University of Bristol. Currently, her research examines how processes of racialisation and racism shape educational systems, with a particular interest in educational policy and the...

Profile picture of Anntoinette Bramble
Anntoinette Bramble, Cllr

Deputy Mayor of the London Borough of Hackney & Deputy Leader of the LGA Labour Group

Anntoinette began her journey with education as qualified nursery nurse. After beginning her career in primary education in 2006, with a speciality in special educational needs, Anntoinette went on to become an Assistant Head in a primary school....