The Higher Education sector continues to grapple with the wicked problem of differential outcomes between student groups at key points in the lifecycle: continuation, degree award and graduate destinations. The most prominent gaps are those between White and Black as well as minoritised students. There are also gaps between the most and least advantaged students – and between young and mature learners.
Inspired by the success of an inclusive curriculum framework at other diverse institutions, our Framework has been crafted by a group of 30 staff, students and the Students’ Union as a values-led framework which combines principles of inclusive pedagogy (drawing on the 2015 Mountford-Zimdars et al HEFCE publication) with a values-based vision of a curriculum which reflects the mission of London Met.
The Education for Social Justice Framework is in part a response to the challenge to eliminate our continuation and awarding gaps. However, our overriding motivation to introduce the framework is because we believe our curricula and practice must align with principles of equity, with who our students are, and the challenges facing London and its communities.
In his seminal work Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paolo Freire spoke of liberation through a praxis that invites continual reflection at both the individual and institutional level – our ambition with the framework is that it will focus our pedagogy for a wider purpose – far removed from a deficit, or banking model of education where information is deposited into the minds of students – instead we undertake an unlearning and relearning of the world we live in, reimagining an equitable future together in partnership with our students. The ESJ will encourage us to consider the impact of our choices in learning design, it will also lead to the transformation of institutional processes so that every student can fulfil their potential.
Social justice, compassion and inclusion will be the golden threads that are woven into our pedagogy and student experience. There is already a rich history of such practice at the London Met – we are therefore building on our traditions and our strength and igniting a new chapter where we will be more explicit in our commitment to social inclusion – and we will be bold and open in our desire to mobilise our students to be agents of change through what and how they learn.
Ambitious staff training programme
To support implementation and increase the impact of the Framework we have introduced a comprehensive training programme for all staff at the University to enhance our knowledge and skills in order to deliver holistic change and our ambitions in inclusivity. The training is coordinated by the University’s Centre for Professional and Educational Development.
There are three stages to the compulsory training programme which is being rolled out between 2020-2022:
1. Inclusive Behaviours Programme
All University staff are required to complete the workshop series which explore:
- Equality essentials
- Bullying and harassment
- Developing EDI literacy
- Cultural awareness
- Bias, discrimination and racism
- White privilege
- Anti-oppression and anti-racism
Additionally teaching staff will undertake the following training:
2. Data Familiarisation Training
- Exploring the Value Added score and fair outcomes data
3. Education for Social Justice pedagogy
- A series of workshops focussing on enhancing teaching practice in each aspect of the Framework.
Student Curriculum Partners Programme
We have also introduced a new Student Curriculum Partner programme to enhance the voice of our diverse student cohort in the creation and delivery of our academic offer. Our Student Curriculum Partners work collaboratively alongside members of staff as equal partners, to help them reflect on their practice and to advise how course materials and activities can be made more engaging and accessible to all students on the course.
Read more about the Framework on our Staff Zone pages (staff login required).
Our overriding motivation to introduce the framework is because we believe our curricula and practice must align with principles of equity, with who our students are, and the challenges facing London and its communities.