The initial two-year partnership aims to pilot a range of new approaches to identify best practises when recruiting Black STEM teachers, with the ambition to support the recruitment and training of 150 Black STEM teachers to work in schools serving disadvantaged communities in England. The partnership aims to create a framework for other educational bodies and recruiters to follow, in order to further increase diverse teachers into these roles. It is the first partnership announced from Mission 44, which was set up earlier this year to support, empower and champion young people from underserved communities. The partnership builds upon the findings of The Hamilton Commission, which highlighted the importance of Black STEM teachers and role models, when looking to engage Black students with these subjects.
Seven-Time Formula One™ World Champion, Sir Lewis Hamilton today announces the first partnership from his charitable foundation, Mission 44. The initial two-year partnership with Teach First, an education charity fighting to make our education system work for every child, has set out to support the recruitment of 150 Black STEM teachers to work in schools serving disadvantaged communities in England through its Training Programme.
As part of the partnership, Mission 44 and Teach First will develop and run taster programmes, mentorship programmes and marketing campaigns, as well as commission research and host networking events in order to further understand the most effective practises when looking to attract Black applicants to STEM teaching roles. As this partnership is one of very few initiatives of its kind, there is little known about what is effective when looking to recruit Black talent into these teaching positions. Throughout the two year period, Mission 44 and Teach First will test and learn different approaches to tackle the lack of Black STEM teachers in the UK and they aim to share these findings across the education system. It is their hope that other schools and educational bodies will use this insight, in order to create a sustainable model to recruit more Black STEM teachers across the UK moving forward.
Mission 44 was launched earlier this year with the ambition to support, empower and champion young people from underserved communities. Its newly launched partnership with Teach First aligns with this mission as it looks to encourage Black students to engage with STEM subjects, a set of subjects they are typically underrepresented in. Teach First are engaged in a similar drive to support the recruitment and development of teachers from underrepresented backgrounds as part of its recently-launched education manifesto.
The partnership builds upon findings and recommendations from The Hamilton Commission which identified that from 500,000 teachers in England, only 2% are from Black backgrounds and that 46% of schools in England have no racially diverse teachers at all. In addition to this, data reveals that only 1.1% of classroom teachers are Black African – despite making up 2.1% of the working age population – compared to 85.7% of White British teachers, who make up 78.5% of the working age population1. This lack of Black teachers more generally is reflected in the even smaller pool of Black STEM teachers, which presents a barrier to the engagement of Black students with these subjects. The Hamilton Commission report determined that this lack of engagement is having a direct effect on the number of young Black people pursuing careers in STEM, which is why one of the report’s recommendations was focussed on the need to increase Black teachers in this area.
Lewis was motivated to establish this partnership due to his own experience at school where he felt his experience was different to his White counterparts, due to having no Black teachers at all throughout his educational journey. Lewis believes that if he had a teacher who understood his background better, he would have had more tailored support and achieved greater success in his studies. While Lewis was able to follow his talent and pursue a career in motorsport, not all students from Black backgrounds are given this opportunity, particularly if they are being closed out of the careers STEM can lead to, such as engineering positions in motorsport, from an early age.
“The entire Teach First community is very excited to launch this partnership with Mission 44 and Lewis Hamilton. There is an urgent need for quality teachers as we address the educational disadvantage in the poorest communities across the UK.”
Sir Lewis Hamilton, Founder of Mission 44 says: “I am incredibly proud to be announcing the first partnership from Mission 44 today. Our work with Teach First is another step towards addressing barriers preventing young Black students’ engagement with STEM, as identified in The Hamilton Commission report. We know representation and role models are important across all aspects of society, but especially when it comes to supporting young people’s development. By establishing this partnership, which focuses on identifying the best way to attract Black talent to STEM teaching roles, we hope to create a framework the wider education industry can implement. It’s our hope other organisations recruiting teachers will support and join us on our mission to see more diversity in the classroom.”
Jason Arthur, CEO of Mission 44 said: “It is great to be announcing the first partnership from Mission 44 today. Since launching earlier this year, we have been keen to start our work supporting young people from underserved communities and our collaboration with Teach First will do just that. Black students deserve to be able to explore the world of possibilities that studying STEM can lead to and, by having more representative teachers in the classroom, we believe that they will be inspired to engage with subjects they are currently underrepresented in. Teach First has a proven track record of tackling educational inequality in schools across England and Wales and Mission 44 is grateful to be able to rely on their wealth of experience. Given there is little known about this subject already, we are under no illusions how much hard work will be needed to make this partnership a success. From our pilot initiatives, we hope to grow our understanding of what works to recruit more Black STEM teachers across the education system and we will be shaping our partnership as we go. While this partnership is the first to come from Mission 44, we have a number of exciting initiatives in the pipeline and we can’t wait to share more in due course.”
Dame Vivian Hunt, Chair of Teach First said: “The entire Teach First community is very excited to launch this partnership with Mission 44 and Lewis Hamilton. There is an urgent need for quality teachers as we address the educational disadvantage in the poorest communities across the UK. The teaching workforce does not reflect the diversity of our pupils and the country – and Black teachers remain a significantly underrepresented group in our classroom, creating even more barriers for our Black students. This partnership is an opportunity for this to change. Recruiting more Black STEM teachers over the next two years sends a clear message for Black students that they too can aspire to have a successful career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”