Mission 44 launches Diversity in Education Fund
Mission 44
28 Feb 2024

At Mission 44, we believe that to build a more inclusive education system, the teaching workforce must be reflective of the young people it serves.

That’s why over the last two years we’ve worked with organisations such as Teach First and the National Foundation for Educational Research to attract and support more teachers from ethnic minority backgrounds, and to build our collective understanding of the key barriers and enablers to building a more ethnically diverse education system.

Building on this work, Mission 44 is now looking to expand our efforts. Through our Diversity in Education Fund we want to invest in innovators and systems changers, we will connect and convene organisations and individuals that are collectively able to  make the education workforce more ethnically diverse.

Over the next five years, we will improve ethnic diversity in teaching and school leadership by: 

  • improving the representation of ethnically diverse teachers in schools;
  • promoting the adoption of racially inclusive practice in schools to support the retention of ethnically diverse teachers and leaders;
  • supporting the progression of ethnically diverse school leaders. 

In the first instance we will be focusing our investment on increasing the representation of ethnically diverse teachers at the recruitment and selection stage.

The deadline for submitting expressions of interest for this phase of the Fund has now passed. If you are interested in future funding opportunities with Mission 44, please sign-up to our newsletter.

Frequently Asked Questions


Yes, if you meet the eligibility guidance you may apply for this Fund.  We continually assess the diversity of our partners across all of our funding to ensure there is a fair distribution of funds that meet our grantmaking targets (see our grantmaking policy). We will build this into the selection of partners for this, and any open funding we release.

We advise organisations to only submit one expression of interest. We anticipate that we will receive lots of proposals for this phase of the Fund so if you are part of a wider partnership we would not expect you to also submit an individual expression of interest.

We’re particularly interested in hearing from organisations who aim to shift current teacher recruitment and selection practice, rather than funding existing work. This might include building on emergent promising practices; funding new partnerships to come together including organisations led by experts by experience; or entirely new ways of addressing this issue.

This would not exclude you from applying however we would want to understand your rationale for taking on this as a new area of work and what expertise you would bring. We anticipate that the strongest proposals will be from organisations that have experience in this area rather than this being completely new to them. We know there are many not for profits that aren't registered ITT providers who are already doing great work to promote inclusive recruitment and selection practices to support greater ethnic diversity in the teacher workforce. We have provided some examples of areas of practice that we might see in proposals in the Fund prospectus although this is for guidance rather than a prescriptive list.

For this phase of the Fund we are looking for proposals that will address the lack of ethnic diversity in teachers entering the profession at secondary education level. Future phases of the Fund may have a broader lens in terms of addressing racially inclusive practice and supporting ethnic minority leaders in education and we expect to announce further details on this early in 2025.

Shortlisting expressions of interest will be done by Mission 44’s Impact Committee, consisting of representative members of our Youth Advisory Board, our CEO and members of our Board of Trustees. The process will be supported by our learning partner and members of Mission 44’s staff team. We will carry out due diligence assessments of the expressions of interest we receive to  support the decision-making. This will include an assessment of how you expect your proposed work to meet the outcomes of this phase of the Fund:

  • Significantly increase the proportion (%) of ethnically diverse applicants securing ITT places 
  • Increase the number of ethnically diverse applicants successfully completing ITT  and achieving Qualified Teacher Status
  • Proactively embed Equity, Diversity and Inclusion practice within teacher recruitment and selection

We will only invite a small number through to the second stage and this is likely to be less than six.  

If you are invited to submit a second stage proposal we will work with you to develop that. Our Board of Trustees will select the two successful proposals. 

We expect the whole process from expression of interest to final decision to take between four to six months.

We want to take time to build our understanding of where we can be most impactful and continue to work with the sector to develop the future phases of this Fund. We hope to convene ethnic minority leaders in education later in 2024, conclude some further research, and aim to  launch the next phase of the Fund early in 2025. The next phase is likely to focus on improving racially inclusive practise in schools.

ITT providers have an important role to play in this work. We encourage ITT providers to consider working with other organisations collaboratively where this will lead to a stronger proposal. The lead organisation can be any that meets the basic eligibility guidance as described in the Fund prospectus.

At Mission 44, we are committed to continually reflecting, learning and improving, and understanding and demonstrating the impact of our partners and us as a funder. Therefore, you will be required to work with our dedicated learning partner to generate useful learning that will mobilise collective action and inform and influence policy and practice across the wider sector. This will be a proportionate and ongoing learning process of ‘collecting and reflecting’ with specific outputs co-created with the learning partner and delivery partner to ensure their relevance and usefulness. We encourage you to consider the resource required to support this process as guided in the prospectus.

Our impact model states that we believe connecting our partners to share learning and collaborate is one of our key mechanisms of change. A community of practice is a group of organisations with a set of collective aims regularly connecting to problem solve, share and generate learning, and build momentum towards the shared goal of diversifying the education workforce. We hope that engaging with the COP will:

  • Increase partners' effectiveness by collaborating, problem solving and sharing learning with others 
  • Increase partners' ability to influence policy and practice change in the sector
  • Lead to a systems approach to increase the diversity of teachers and leaders in our schools

The two proposals funded under phase 1 of the Diversity in Education Fund will become part of a wider community of practice as we bring in more partners through future phases of the Fund.

We adopt a relational approach to our grantmaking. By that we mean that we will be regularly in contact with you during the delivery of your project to understand what is working well and what isn’t working well but also to see how and where we can best support you. All of our funded partners are paired with a named Partnership Manager who will hold regular (frequency to be agreed during the grant set up) learning conversations with you.  During these learning conversations we will be particularly interested in what you have learnt and how your work evolves over the lifetime of the grant. We will ask you to send us interim and annual reports but will accept reports that you already prepare eg for trustees, other funders or annual reports, where we can. 

The learning partner will support our delivery partners to develop a Fund-wide theory of change, highlighting key outcomes that we’re interested in tracking via reporting throughout the grant.

You can apply for up to £500k over 4 years.

We are a small team with limited capacity, and to ensure we keep the process fair and equitable, we will not be able to speak to organisations prior to them submitting their express of interest (EOI). The expression of interest (EOI) is intended to provide an opportunity for you to briefly summarise your plans, before providing a more detailed proposal. The EOI can be submitted in a range of different formats - please do contact us if you have specific accessibility needs. We will continue to update the FAQs to ensure that everyone has access to the same information. We are also planning to host an information webinar on 18th March at 12:00 - details and link to follow.

We are always looking for ways to improve our processes so we'd encourage organisations and individuals submitting applications to contact us on grant.enquiries@mission44.org if they wish to share feedback on our application process. Or our annual survey provides another opportunity to share your thoughts if you'd prefer to do so anonymously.

Mission 44 are encouraging ITT providers to work with other organisations collaboratively and any of the organisations within those coalitions or partnerships can be the lead org (assuming they meet basic eligibility requirements).

We know there are many not for profits that aren't registered ITT providers who are doing great work to promote inclusive recruitment and selection practise that will support greater ethnic diversity in the teacher workforce, as per some of the examples of interventions in the prospectus eg mentoring, reverse mentoring, addressing racial bias and improving racial literacy etc. That's who Mission 44 are referring to when we say not for profits involved in teacher recruitment.

Yes, at this stage, we are looking for proposals from organisations, including collaborations, that can increase the proportion of ethnic minority teachers entering the profession and securing qualified teacher status by the end of the four years. This is one of the key outcomes of this phase of the Fund.

As a not for profit you would be eligible to apply for this Fund as long as you have a board of trustees (or similar) and governance structures of a not for profit organisation. The fact that you receive part funding from the local authority would not in itself make you ineligible.

A Multi Academy Trust would be an eligible organisation and we know that many are registered Initial Teacher Training (ITT) providers. If you want to know about how we are working with MATs in our school exclusions work, you can find details on our website and also on 360 Giving.

For this phase of the Diversity in Education Fund we are looking for proposals that will address the lack of ethnic diversity in teachers entering the profession specifically at secondary education level. 

We have limited resources and will only be able to fund two proposals ultimately so we have adopted a narrower focus. Future phases of the Fund may have a broader lens in terms of addressing racially inclusive practice and supporting ethnic minority leaders in education and we expect to announce further details on this early in 2025.

The EOI is intended to be a high level summary of your idea. We've indicated in the prospectus that the EOI should be the equivalent of 4-6 pages as a guide. We are very interested in you telling us about partnerships that are already in progress rather than newly formed partnerships specifically for the EOI.

All routes towards attaining QTS will be considered.

We would look favourably. We would like you to think about how you would replicate or share this best practise with the wider education sector to support systemic change.

We recognise the importance of tackling school culture, especially anti-racist work. However, this will be covered in phase 2 of the fund which will launch in early 2025. We do however recognise that changing practise within ITT and recruitment to retain ethnically diverse talent in ITT programmes is an area that could be covered in Phase 1 of the fund.

We would like collaboration to be strong, there is an expectation that you should be able to resource this collaboration as well as with the learning partner (and you should ensure this is resourced in your budget). We would like to see that there is a commitment to sharing best practise and the importance you place on learning and evaluation in your EOI. Therefore it will be a factor in our decision making.

This is okay, as there are already discussions taking place. Please make the stage of the relationship clear in your EOI.

Our initial partnership with Teach First focused on recruiting Black STEM talent in teaching and has generated a huge amount of learning that has informed the design of this Fund. All organisations will go through the same process here and submit an EOI.

There is no target organisation in mind and each EOI will be assessed on its own merit. We do have some general targets in our grantmaking, that are outlined in our grantmaking policy and funding decision will always be taken with these in mind to ensure there is an equitable spread of our funding.

The report can be found here: https://www.teachfirst.org.uk/reports/mission-44-report

If you will struggle to meet the deadline, because of the bank holidays, please let us know and we will accept expressions of interest up until latest Tuesday 2nd April @ 12pm