Lewis Hamilton launches scheme to boost number of black teachers in STEM subjects

‘We know representation and role models are important across all aspects of society, but especially when it comes to supporting young people’s development,’ says Lewis Hamilton

Kate Ng
Tuesday 05 October 2021 12:09
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Lewis Hamilton has launched a new scheme in partnership with education charity Teach First that aims to boost the number of black teachers in science, technology and maths (STEM) subjects.

The initial two-year programme aims to support the recruitment and training of 150 black STEM teachers to work in schools serving disadvantaged communities in England.

It marks the first project following the Hamilton Commission report, which addresses the lack of diversity in UK motorsport.

The Formula One world champion said the scheme “focuses on identifying the best way to attract black talent to STEM teaching roles” and hopes it will “create a framework the wider education industry can implement”.

The scheme, which is the first partnership announced by Hamilton’s Mission 44 project that launched earlier this year, will pilot new approaches to identify best practices when recruiting black STEM teachers.

The Mission 44 scheme was set up to “support, empower and champion young people from under-served communities”.

Hamilton said the partnership “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,” he added.

Findings from the Hamilton Commission revealed that only two per cent of teachers are from black backgrounds, and 46 per cent of schools in England have no racially diverse teachers at all.

It also found that just 1.1 per cent of teachers are black African, compared with a 2.1 per cent representation in the working age population. In contrast, white British teachers are over-represented at 85.7 per cent, compared to a 78.5 per cent representation in the working age population.

Recommendations made by the report included increasing the presence of black teachers in classrooms across the UK, in hopes that it will help inspire students from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in STEM subjects.

Hamilton said he hoped other organisations that work to recruit teachers will support the partnership and “join us on our mission to see more diversity in the classroom”.

Dame Vivian Hunt, chair of Teach First, said: “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.”

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