Too many children aren’t getting the education they deserve. Where you’re from shouldn’t affect where you’re going; yet a child from a disadvantaged background is 6 times less likely to get good GCSEs and go on to higher education. The effects of this slow start can last a lifetime, widening social inequality and failing our communities. Teach First’s Director of Fundraising, Vidhu Sood-Nicholls, tells us what they’re doing to help and why it’s important that organisations like Deloitte support their work in making education fair for all:
Deloitte is one of Teach First’s oldest and most committed partners. Since 2006 we have worked together to provide invaluable support to schools and pupils through Deloitte’s One Million Futures programme. Through our partnership, we’re aiming to develop more great teachers into leaders and to broaden pupils’ perspectives on the career opportunities available to them.
Over the 2018-19 academic year, our partnership has positively impacted the futures of over 130,000 students and teachers. Facilitated by Teach First, each of Deloitte’s offices has partnered with one or two of their local schools, helping with their specific needs – from leadership mentoring with teachers to skills sessions with students.
In addition, Deloitte’s UK Chair Nick Owen has provided ongoing strategic advice to help grow our business. Since becoming Chair of the Teach First Business Leaders Council, he has driven a refreshed approach to corporate income generation resulting in new corporate partnerships with the likes of Unilever, Drax and Schroeder’s. Each of these organisations are just as committed as we are to ensuring all young people get the futures they serve.
Young people from low-income backgrounds are less likely to have friends and family who can guide them on how to get into higher-paid professions. And teachers at Teach First schools agree. Bridget Hitchings, Assistant Head Teacher at Holly Lodge School in Liverpool says “We know that lack of confidence and lack of self-belief can hold back our girls, which is why we invite as many aspirational people as we can into the school to share their stories and talk about their careers. This is why our partnership with Deloitte is so important. Our girls have benefited from CV writing workshops and career mentoring. Deloitte is also helping with further and higher education access with graduate volunteers running mock interviews to help our pupils to aim higher.”
Our work together goes far beyond the purely financial. Deloitte volunteers work with both students and teachers providing a range of in-school activities, from CV writing sessions to emotional wellbeing and resilience workshops. The volunteers enjoy it too. Elaine Reeves, a Deloitte volunteer who works with two schools in Cardiff said: “We don’t just bring out the best in the students, they bring out the best in us. I know volunteering has lifted our people from some of their most difficult days. To know you can make a difference gives people an invaluable sense of purpose and belonging.”
The Deloitte and Teach First partnership was recently shortlisted for a Better Society Award and the Business Charity Awards.