Mission 44, a foundation founded by seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, has announced a partnership with Teach First, an education-based charity, to support the recruitment of 150 Black STEM teachers to work in schools that serve disadvantaged communities in England.
The focus of the two-year partnership is to develop and run sample programs, mentorship programs and marketing campaigns, along with commissioning research and hosting networking events, to aid the understanding of the most effective practices in attracting Black applicants to STEM teaching roles. The aim is for other schools and educational bodies to use the information gathered by the program to help create a sustainable model for the recruitment of more Black STEM teachers.
“The entire Teach First community is very excited to launch this partnership with Mission 44 and Lewis Hamilton,” said Dame Vivian Hunt, Chair of Teach First. “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.”
The Hamilton Commission identified that only two percent of the 500,000 teachers in England are from Black backgrounds, and that 46 percent of schools in England have no racially diverse teachers at all. In addition, only 1.1 percent of classroom teachers are Black African – despite that group making up 2.1 percent of the working age population – compared to 85.7 percent of White British teachers, who make up 78.5 percent of the working age population. This lack of Black teachers is reflected in the even smaller pool of Black STEM teachers. The Hamilton Commission report determined that this has a direct effect on the number of young Black people pursuing careers in STEM.
“I am incredibly proud to be announcing the first partnership from Mission 44 today,” said Hamilton, who launched the foundation earlier this year. “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 organizations recruiting teachers will support and join us on our mission to see more diversity in the classroom.”