In accordance with its specific duties under the Equality Act 2010, the College has adopted the following two Equality objectives for the years 2016-17 to 2019-20, and reports below on progress in achieving them:
1 To increase the accessibility of Magdalen’s buildings and grounds for disabled members of the College and visitors.
2 To improve further the College’s provision of support for disabled students, staff, and visitors.
The College’s Equality work covers a much wider range than that referred to in these objectives, and further information about the extent of this follows.
There has been very extensive work in College in support of this objective.
Trinity Term 2016 to Hilary Term 2017:
• Grove Buildings internal refurbishment. The existing accessible rooms (D.III.1 and the Teaching Room with ancillary bathroom in A) were refurbished and upgraded to a higher specification.
• Grove Quad re-landscaping. The works involved replacement Yorkstone paving. The improvements include tight 3mm joints between paving stones; re-designed ramp layouts at the north end of Building A by the car park and from the F/E door at the Auditorium; a more manageable gradient of ramp into all accessible areas; and a seamless transition to the asphalt paths that lead into College.
• Longwall Library. All floors of the building are now accessible to a wheelchair user through the introduction of a lift; all users of the library can use the same front door which is automatic and approached by a ramp; circulatory and room doors throughout all floors of the building are automatic; circulation routes throughout the building are generous to allow for ease of movement of a wheelchair; fittings and fixtures have been designed to take account of the needs of disabled people; signage is clear throughout the building, and colours are of a suitable degree of contrast to aid those with visual impairments; provision has been made throughout in designing for those with sensory impairments; there are accessible WC facilities on the lower ground and first floors; and the Longwall late gate has also been automated, giving wheelchair access to and from the street 24/7.
Trinity Term 2017 to Hilary Term 2018:
• Replacement Buttery lift. The existing platform lift has been replaced with a Part M compliant hydraulic passenger and goods lift, which has been modified and appropriately re-modelled so that it can transport wheelchair and ambulant disabled users.
• Hall refurbishment. The existing PA system has been replaced with a new sound system, which for the first time introduces a hearing loop system to assist those with hearing impairments.
• Holywell Ford Stables. Both floors of the building are now accessible to a wheelchair user through the introduction of a Stannah stairlift; all users can use the same front door, which is automatic and approached by a ramp; all internal doors throughout are automatic; signage is clear throughout the building and colours are of a suitable degree of contrast to aid those with visual impairments; and there is an accessible WC on the ground floor.
• Senior Common Room. A new Part M compliant hydraulic lift has been installed, which provides access to the first floor where the Senior Common Room is located, and to the upper first floor where the Lower Muniment Room can be found. There is an accessible WC on the first floor, and wheelchair users can move independently between the Senior Common Room and the Lower Muniment Room with the aid of automatic doors. Signage is clear throughout the refurbished spaces, and colours are of a suitable degree of contrast to aid those with visual impairments.
• Old Practice Room. The passageway from the Cloister into the Old Practice Room has been made level going, and the room door is automatic, which now makes this an accessible teaching and meeting space.
Trinity Term 2018 to Hilary Term 2019:
Planning for the following improvements has taken place:
• Chapel. As part of an extensive refurbishment of the Chapel and Ante Chapel space, the existing PA system will be replaced with a new sound system, with a hearing loop to assist those with hearing impairments.
• Winter Common Room project. The Winter Common Room, New Room, and back of house areas are going to be refurbished starting in the summer of 2019. Our aim is to improve accessibility where and to the extent that it is practically possible, with due regard to the character and significance of the historic fabric and setting. Our proposals allow for all existing and new dining and reception rooms to become accessible.
• 1-7 Longwall St. An extensive refurbishment will include improvements to accessibility. The gate leading to 1-7 Longwall St from the highway will be automated, and the internal spaces will be reconfigured to allow for improvements in the size and quality of the offering for accessible rooms and bathrooms.
• Old Kitchen Bar terrace. This space will be made accessible by the introduction of lift access between the servery and the terrace.
• St Swithun’s and Longwall Quad. These staircases will be extensively refurbished and all opportunities for improvements to accessibility will be fully explored and implemented where it is possible to do so.
The College has continued to work hard to improve its provision of support to disabled students, staff, and visitors. A detailed account of the various ways in which Magdalen supports disabled students is given above in our Equality Reports for 2012-13 to 2015-16. In all but two of the years 2010 to 2017, the College has had a higher percentage of students with a declared disability than the University as a whole, and that percentage increased from 4.7% in 2010 to 11.9% in 2017. The data on Final Examination results for the period 2015-18 at Magdalen and in the University as a whole show that over this period 34.43% of Magdalen finalists with a declared disability achieved Firsts (compared to a University average of 27.92%), while 43.16% of Magdalen finalists with no declared disability achieved Firsts (compared to a University average of 34.34%).
Other Equality work:
Much other Equality work has been done at Magdalen, with the aim of promoting and increasing diversity and inclusivity wherever possible.
Between 2016 and 2018 Magdalen significantly increased its outreach efforts, in support of the University’s aim of removing barriers to higher education and promoting equality of opportunity. In 2016-17 much work was done to complete and update the database of schools in Magdalen’s link regions, and to develop both ‘An Introduction to Oxford’ workshops at local host schools, and ‘Magdalen Revealed’ workshops at the College, aimed specifically at schools which have little or no history of making competitive applications to Oxford. Confirmed engagements were made with 82 of the schools in the link regions, and 32 Magdalen students were trained as Student Ambassadors, who assisted at both external and internal events. In the year 2017-18 the Outreach Officer arranged or attended 41 outreach events, reaching approximately 1,500 pupils from 84 schools. Over 60 current undergraduates were trained to act as Student Ambassadors during these outreach events. The Outreach Officer collaborated with other colleges and departments on outreach events aimed at widening participation more broadly, including a Women in Science event in collaboration with Jesus and Trinity Colleges, a computer science competition organised by the Department of Computer Science, and a charity fundraiser for International Women’s Day. Magdalen Outreach co-hosted the Oxford African & Caribbean Society’s annual Offer-Holders Day, during which 24 Year-13 Oxford offer-holders of black African & Caribbean heritage attended workshops and study skills sessions followed by a formal dinner at Magdalen. The Outreach Officer also attended an outreach event for BME students at IntoUniversity Lambeth, which consisted of an all-BME panel of Oxford alumni providing insights into the admissions process and Oxford life, followed by a Q&A session. From October 2017 the Outreach Officer was involved in the development of an app to highlight landmarks around Oxford that are relevant to the BME community, to help address the perceived lack of recognition of BME figures and BME history within Oxford.
The College has embarked on a major new Outreach Strategy for the period 2018-23, which aims to give opportunities for outstanding education to students regardless of background; to increase the presence of under-represented groups at Magdalen and at Oxford; to promote Magdalen and Oxford to all students with the potential for academic excellence; and to support the University as a whole in its outreach and access work. This involves increased staffing at Fellowship and Officership level, collaboration on a wide variety of access programmes, developments in communications, and the greater embedding of outreach as a fundamental part of the College’s life.
Magdalen conducted 88 outreach events between Trinity 2018 and Hilary 2019. Many of these events involved multiple schools and colleges and some events took place over more than one day (e.g. residential visits and Higher Education exhibitions). Most events involved schools and colleges in our link regions, but we also worked with schools and colleges across the UK. Most of these 88 events were organised and led by Magdalen, whilst also involving collaboration with other Colleges, Departments, and external organisations. The College contributed significantly during this period towards many University-wide outreach and access programmes, including UNIQ (hosting 40 students for 5 nights), Oxford Pathways (4 events), OUSU Target Schools (1 event), Open Days (3 across the year), and the Oxford African and Caribbean Society (hosting ACS’s annual offer-holders’ event). Magdalen also worked with many external organisations specialising in outreach and access, including The Sutton Trust (hosting 20 teachers for 1 night as part of the Teacher Summer School); The Social Mobility Foundation; The Access Project (which works with disadvantaged students in London and the Midlands); IntoUniversity; Your Future, Your Ambition (which focuses on diversity within STEM); Breakout Youth (a LGBTQ+ youth group in Hampshire); Making the Leap (a London-based social mobility charity); UK University Search; and UCAS Higher Education Exhibitions. For 2019-20 we have events planned with the Oxford African and Caribbean Society, UNIQ, Oxford First-Gen, Target Schools, Target Oxbridge, The Access Project, UCAS, and IntoUniversity.
The Final Examination results supplied by the University for the period 2015-18, which were scrutinized by the College’s Academic Policy Committee, show that 41.97% of Magdalen women who were finalists achieved Firsts (compared to a University average of 29.24%), while 41.91% of Magdalen men achieved Firsts (compared to a University average of 37.19%), with the Finals performance of women at Magdalen over this period being better than that of men, a sharp contrast with the picture in the University as a whole. In respect of BME students, the University’s statistics for the period 2015-18 show that 38.75% of Magdalen finalists classified as BME/unknown achieved Firsts (compared to a University average of 28.60%), while 42.66% of Magdalen finalists classified as White achieved Firsts (compared to a University average of 34.82%). However, the overall numbers of women and BME students studying at Magdalen are lower than the College would wish, and further work under the College’s Outreach strategy for 2018-23 is being undertaken to address this issue. In the first admissions exercise of this period (December 2018), the College has already made more offers of places to women than in any previous admissions exercise. More broadly, in developing its Outreach strategy the College is seeking to address the challenge of changing public perceptions, in order to attract higher numbers of academically able students from disadvantaged and under-represented groups.
The Tutor for Equality and Diversity has organised a termly Equality and Diversity Forum for Magdalen’s undergraduates and graduates, which provides a space for raising issues and instigating positive changes within the College. Among the improvements which have been made is the setting out of clearer information by the College about arrangements for those with particular dietary requirements, such as the provision of kosher and halal food.
In co-operation with the JCR and MCR, the College made significant changes to its Student Welfare provision in 2016-17, with the appointment of a Tutor for Welfare, Personal Tutors for all incoming fresher undergraduates, and a Student Mentor to offer advice and guidance to all students on a broad range of topics, to help signpost students to other support services, which include a College Counsellor who is also a member of the University’s Counselling Service, and to organise various sorts of discussion groups or workshops, such as the very popular sessions on Mindfulness. The JCR and MCR also have Welfare Officers and Peer Supporters who receive training in welfare support for students. An additional Sub-Dean was added to the College’s provision from Hilary Term 2018, to increase the ‘out-of-hours’ welfare support available to Magdalen students. From 2017, the College has required all fresher undergraduates to attend a session on Student Safety which included sexual consent guidance provided by the Oxfordshire Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre. The College’s welfare provision was reviewed again in Trinity Term 2018, leading to a substantial increase in the number of hours of counselling provided by the College and of additional support offered by the Student Mentor (renamed the ‘College Mentor for Students’).
The College’s Human Resources Committee has continued to monitor recruitment data and data on current staff. These are derived from forms completed voluntarily by applicants for posts and by current College staff, and appear to be relatively consistent from year to year in respect of declarations about ethnicity and disability. As before, most of the posts considered are non-academic rather than academic: the majority of the College’s senior academic appointments are made jointly with the University. The University has gathered and published monitoring and statistical data and other Equality information in a series of reports available from:
These reports incorporate data on a number of the College’s academic staff who hold a joint appointment with the University.
In considering the figures for the Gender Pay Gap at Magdalen (in the reporting year 2016-17: median 2.02%; mean 26.46%; in the reporting year 2017-18: median 0%; mean 27.88%), the Committee noted the factors that have led to the imbalance in the mean (in particular, the number of male incumbents in the most senior roles), and considered ways of addressing the gap. The College has in place a generous Maternity policy, details of which are advertised in the further particulars for academic vacancies with the aim of attracting more applications from female candidates. In addition, the College’s shared parental leave pay policy mirrors the Maternity pay policy, to encourage men to take on more responsibility for caring for children. The College is seeking to establish a dedicated College nursery as well as transitional housing for families to attract more applications from female candidates. And the College will review its recruitment processes, focus on how to attract more women into the roles within the College where there is currently a preponderance of men, and ensure that all interviewers have received guidance about unconscious bias.
Consideration has been given to the promotion of an atmosphere in Magdalen of inclusivity and equality for all members of the community. A revision of the College’s Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech was undertaken in 2016, along with a further revision of the Code of Practice on Harassment (following the revision of that Code which was undertaken in 2015). In Trinity Term 2019 the College will be considering its provision for its transgender community, in light of developments in University Policy and Guidance in this area. The College has continued to fly the Rainbow Flag for one week of LGBTQ+ History month every year, and flew the Suffrage Banner on 14 December 2018 to mark 100 years since British and Irish Women first cast a vote in a general election and stood as parliamentary candidates, and again to mark International Women’s Day in March 2019. Magdalen hosted its first ever Iftar on 8 June 2018, bringing together members of the College over a meal in the President’s Lodgings to mark the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan. Former student of the College Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International, gave the 2018 Waynflete Lecture at the College, entitled ‘Creative maladjustment in a time of affluenza’, concerning the biggest problems faced by society, including inequality and climate change, and the urgency with which they need to be addressed.
The College has also continued to celebrate the achievements of female Fellows at Magdalen by commissioning female portraiture, with recent portraits of Professor Lizzie Fricker and Dr Christine Ferdinand to add to the portrait of Dame Frances Kirwan. At the instigation of the JCR, in close co-operation with the MCR and Fellows of Magdalen, the College commissioned a series of photographic portraits to hang in the Dining Hall, which reflect the diversity of the College’s membership and help to ensure that all students and staff feel included in the College community.
The JCR and MCR are also very active in promoting equality in other ways. The JCR has established the post of Trans Officer, to help support the needs of transgender students. Its RaEM Representative has attended the Oxford SU Access and Admissions Focus Group and training sessions of the Oxford SU Campaign for Racial Awareness and Equality, and the JCR held its second Race Workshop during Freshers’ Week in 2018, along with workshops led by the Welfare and LGBTQ+ Representatives, organised following collaboration with the Tutor for Equality and Diversity. The LGBTQ+ Representatives have hosted weekly drinks in the Old Kitchen Bar, and the Representative for Disabled Students has addressed the issues of common room accessibility, and lighting around the College. The MCR’s Racial Equality Officer worked with counterparts in the JCR to establish an annual dinner for BME students, starting in 2018, to parallel the annual dinner for students identifying as LGBTQ+. In 2017-18 the JCR organised a panel discussion entitled ‘The Power of Out: Being Yourself & Being Successful’, with guest LGBTQ+ speakers from Barclays, Boston Consulting Group, and VISA, and LGBTQ+ drinks are held weekly in the Old Kitchen Bar. The MCR has worked with the Tutor for Equality and Diversity to put on a series of panel talks where women discuss their work in different realms of life, including ‘Women at Oxford’, ‘Women in Social Entrepreneurship’, and ‘Women in Academia’, and to organise a lecture to celebrate LGBTQ+ history month. There has also been close collaboration between the Welfare team and the LGBTQ+ Officers, the Disabilities Representative, and the BME Representative. Both the JCR and the MCR are proud to be working to make Magdalen an ever more diverse and inclusive environment.