Mission 44 and Sky announce first two grants to prevent school exclusions
Mission 44
2 Aug 2022

The Difference and Just for Kids Law will each receive £375,000 from Mission 44 and Sky’s ‘Preventing Exclusions Fund’ to deliver programmes that help to reduce school exclusions across England

Mission 44 announces first two grants to prevent school exclusions

The Preventing Exclusion Fund was launched in January 2022 by Mission 44 and Sky to tackle school exclusions of vulnerable young people. The Fund has a particular focus on the disproportionate rate of school exclusions for students of Caribbean heritage, who are permanently excluded at 2 times the rate of their peers. It builds on a recommendation from The Hamilton Commission for the development of an innovation fund to test and scale interventions that can address the problem effectively.

Research has shown that school exclusions can be counterproductive, often increasing the likelihood of involvement with the criminal justice system, alongside the far-ranging consequences exclusion can have on a young person’s mental and physical well-being.

“I’m delighted that Mission 44 will be working with The Difference and Just for Kids Law to prevent school exclusions. Young people faced with exclusion are often very vulnerable learners, having to overcome a range of disadvantages and discrimination. We’re proud to be partnering with two organisations that are doing such inspiring work to build a more inclusive education system.”

CEO, Mission 44

Founded in 2019, The Difference creates specialist senior school leaders, with the expertise to lead whole-school and multi-agency approaches to meeting the learning, wellbeing and safeguarding needs of all children, and most crucially those with high levels of need and vulnerability.

Mission 44’s three-year partnership with The Difference will enable it to expand its Leadership Programme: a two-year placement as a senior leader in an Alternative Provision school, followed by support to progress to leadership and headship roles in mainstream schools after completion of the programme.

Danny Swift, Managing Director at The Difference, commented: “The Difference is incredibly excited to receive this support from Mission 44. Through this investment, The Difference will be able to attract and train more outstanding educators on our intensive leadership development programme. Like Mission 44, we are passionate about improving outcomes for the most vulnerable pupils. By fast-tracking the careers of amazing leaders from diverse backgrounds – while upskilling them with evidence-led inclusion expertise – this work will substantially scale the number of schools, teachers and students who are changing the story on school exclusions.”

Mission 44 announces first two grants to prevent school exclusions

Founded in 2006, Just for Kids Law has developed an integrated approach to tackling the issues surrounding school exclusion which combines legal representation and advice, youth advocacy and policy influencing, all backed by participation from children and young people with lived experience of school exclusion and its consequences.

Over 80% of Just for Kids Law’s clients are from ethnic backgrounds. Currently, there is no legal aid funding for young people and families to seek relevant advice or representation and most face the highly complex and legalistic process of challenging a school exclusion alone.

Louisa McGeehan, CEO at Just for Kids Law, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Mission 44 to prevent school exclusion and the harm it causes children through lost education, reduced confidence, isolation and a greater risk of child criminal exploitation. We share a commitment to tackling the disproportionate exclusion of children from Black and other minoritised backgrounds, as well as those with special education needs. This investment will enable us to scale up our holistic approach to achieving solutions through a combination of expert lawyers supporting individual children to achieve better outcomes, building knowledge of the right to challenge exclusions among children and families, influencing Government policy and guidance based on the evidence from our casework and empowering and supporting children and young people with experience of exclusion to have a voice and come together as a force for change.”

David Carrigan, Director at Sky Group, said: “Sky’s partnership with Mission 44 is borne of our commitment to tackling systemic inequality. We are delighted that Just for Kids Law and The Difference will benefit from our new fund, and we hope our partnership with Mission 44 will improve the experience of Black pupils to succeed at school and beyond.”


Mission 44 was founded by Sir Lewis Hamilton in 2021 to transform the lives of young people from underserved communities. Through grant-making, advocacy and research, the charity aims to support young people facing disadvantage or discrimination to lead happy, health, fulfiling lives. Mission 44 focuses on creating a more inclusive education system, supporting progression into careers in STEM and the creative industries, and empowering young people to lead positive change in their communities and beyond. 


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