Our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion at AQA

Wednesday 25 Nov 2020

Over the past year, we’ve taken some time to reflect on how we can help to bring about greater equality, diversity and inclusion in our world – as an education charity, exam board and employer.

We know we need to play a much bigger role – so we’d like to tell you about some of the things we’re doing.

Our qualifications

We’re reviewing equality, diversity and inclusion across all our qualifications. We want them to properly represent the diversity of knowledge and human experience that we value, as well as reflecting the communities of students we serve.

We’ll be working with the widest possible range of people, including teachers, students, examiners, academics, subject associations and community organisations. We’ll make sure that a diverse group, representative of the population, has the opportunity to contribute, so we can gather many different perspectives and ideas for how content, language, representation, sources, texts or other areas could be improved.

We’re looking to identify possibilities for short-term changes, which would be manageable for schools and allowed within the current Department for Education and Ofqual regulations.

We’ll also consider longer-term changes for when qualifications are next reformed and we’ll use our influence and relationships in the education sector to make these possible.

We also know that, in the past, our process for allowing publishers to use the ‘AQA approved’ badge on their textbooks didn’t make sure these books properly represent diverse groups and protected characteristics.

We’re sorry about this and, in the last two years, we’ve made a number of improvements to this process. These include training for our reviewers and staff, working with external diversity experts, and making sure publishers are doing the right checks themselves.

We don’t plan to stop there, though, so we’ll be making even more improvements to the approval process over the coming months – which will also have benefits for resources we produce ourselves.

Our workplace

We’re proud to have signed up to the Business in the Community Race at Work Charter, and commit to five important steps:

  • appoint an Executive Sponsor for race (our Director of People, Lisa Pearl)
  • capture ethnicity data and publicise progress
  • commit at Board level to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying
  • make it clear that supporting equality in the workplace is the responsibility of all leaders and managers
  • take action that supports ethnic minority career progression.

This complements the other things we’re doing to make AQA a better and more diverse place to work. These include:

  • introducing new mandatory training for all staff
  • updating the recruitment pages on our website and reviewing how we recruit our staff and examiners
  • publishing our first ethnic pay gap report later this financial year
  • commissioning an external review of all our equality, diversity and inclusion activities
  • creating a steering group to co-ordinate all our work in this area, with representatives from our staff diversity networks.