The British Council’s Implementation of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Researchers from Middlesex University and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) have won a six month research project to explore the British Council’s internal and external implementation of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

The international study will enable the British Council to develop thought-provoking and functional learning aids such as story-telling, and exemplars for managing difficult scenarios, which could be made available to both internal and external audiences. The initial funding exceeds £40,000

The team will visit British Council staff in Jordan, Egypt Saudi Arabia, Ghana and Kenya, as well as UK staff who are working to promote workplace diversity, both internally and externally. Through an ethnographic and narrative approach they will capture British Council staff’s lived experiences of and responses to EDI-related challenges, which they have encountered in their contexts; and provide an analysis of the state of current EDI policy and agendas in these selected countries of the Middle East and Africa.

The expertise of the research team in the field of equality, diversity and inclusion and in appropriate methodologies was recognised by the British Council when awarding the project.

Professor Paul Gibbs, Director of Education Research, is heading up the research team and will be responsible for project managing the multi-dimensional research, leading on the survey aspects of the project and the final report; Associate Professor Kate Maguire, Head of Research Degrees at the Institute  for Work Based Learning with expertise in anthropology, will be leading on the field work. The team is supported by Professor Alison Scott-Baumann, from SOAS, and Dr Alex Elwick of the Education Department

“This research project should lead to close co-operation with the British Council in EDI areas and confirm the importance of this aspect of the University’s strategy in this area and its recognition outside the University. As a university, we are positioning ourselves as leaders of EDI research, which we are very proud of. This exciting research study will provide the University with a sound international perspective on an issue we are addressing at a local level.” Paul Gibbs and Kate Maguire

The British Council is seeking to enhance its internal and external approach to equality, diversity and inclusion through an innovative approach to capture and disseminate good practice in EDI policy and implementation across the world.  The British Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy is at the heart of its cultural relations work, both in the UK and across its 100 plus offices worldwide.

Building Resilience

The ‘Building Resilience’ project was run by the Association for Citizenship Teaching and funded by the Home Office. Lee Jerome (Associate Professor in Education, CERS) was appointed as the project evaluator.

The project involved teachers in schools across England developing innovative teaching strategies to build children’s criticality and resilience to extremism and being drawn into terrorism. The project will develop and disseminate examples of best practice in the form of case studies including practical classroom materials, teaching ideas and appropriate pedagogies to support schools nationally in creating their educational response to the new Prevent duty. The ambition of the project is to support teachers working in different school contexts across England in developing the skills and knowledge pupils need to:

  • think critically, explore and discuss controversial and sensitive issues
  • recognise and challenge extremism and terrorist ideologies
  • build resilience to radicalisation; and
  • understand the value of democratic citizenship.

Further information and the final project report can be found on the ACT website.

Citizenship Education: Learning & Progression

This project, led by Lee Jerome (Associate Professor of Education, CERS), has been supported by the 5 Nations Network for Citizenship Education (supported by the Gordon Cook Foundation) and includes primary and secondary schools in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Dublin and Belfast. The researchers are collecting data from 10, 14, 16 and 18 year-olds to investigate the ways in which children’s conceptual understanding develops as they mature. Students complete tasks in lesson time that elicit their responses to case studies concerning each concept (rights and power). These responses are then analysed to identify the various ways in which the children are able to use these concepts. The model of conceptual progression developed sheds light on some of the ways in which children are able to engage with these core concepts and the results will be disseminated to teachers to help them plan for deeper conceptual learning.

The final project report can be downloaded here.