Sky has announced a two-year partnership with Lewis Hamilton’s charitable foundation to address the disproportionately high rate of school exclusions amongst Black students in the UK.
The partnership with Mission 44, which was launched by Formula 1’s seven-time world champion in July last year, forms part of Sky’s £30m commitment towards tackling systemic racism and will see the foundation receive over £1m during the two-year period.
Mission 44 aims to build a more inclusive education system, to empower more young people from underserved communities and to support progression into key sectors and professions.
“Understanding and addressing issues that lead to young people being excluded from school is really important to me,” said Hamilton, who has been striving to improve diversity in F1 and beyond.
“Having experienced unfair exclusions during my time at school, I understand how upsetting and stressful it can be.
“When we launched Mission 44 last year, implementing initiatives such as these was a personal priority and I am grateful to have the support of Sky to help Mission 44 take action.
“Through this partnership, I hope we can deliver meaningful change by arming schools with the proper strategies to support and empower young Black students, instead of giving up on them.”
Research from Mission 44 shows that Black Caribbean students are 2.5 times more likely to be permanently excluded compared with their White counterparts.
Sky’s partnership with Mission 44 includes initiatives aimed at tackling the issue, including:
- ‘Preventing exclusions’ grants: grant funding for Multi-Academy Trusts to invest in interventions that reduce school exclusion rates.
- ‘Scaling impact’ grants: grant funding to support high potential or high impact interventions that prevent exclusions or improve trajectories of excluded students.
- The ‘Included’ research project: a research project to amplify the voices of a group of excluded students to discover what support they need to achieve positive outcomes.
- Early career insight programme: an early-career insight programme led by Sky to provide information, advice, and guidance on opportunities in the broadband and telecommunications industry for students at risk of exclusion and students already excluded from mainstream education.
These initiatives build upon findings from The Hamilton Commission report, which was published in July last year and found that behaviour management practises within UK schools were disproportionately targeting Black students and having an impact on their educational journey.
“We are passionate about tackling racial injustice and welcome the opportunity to partner with Sir Lewis Hamilton and Mission 44 to champion and empower young people,” said Dana Strong, Sky Group’s CEO.
“We hope our partnership will support Mission 44’s work to improve the experience of Black pupils and support them to succeed at school and beyond.”
Mission 44 CEO Jason Arthur said: “Preventing school exclusions is an issue of social justice.
“Excluded students often must contend with a range of complex social and economic challenges, such as poverty, racism and mental ill-health, that cause them to face both disadvantage and discrimination in our education system.
“I’m delighted that Mission 44 will be working with Sky to transform the lives of some of the most vulnerable learners in our education system.”
Sky’s £30m commitment to make a difference in communities impacted by racism; and use the power of its voice and platform to highlight racial injustice has already created a fund specifically to support Black business founders in the UK.
Sky has also funded a three-year partnership with Kick It Out to drive inclusion in football and make it easier for football fans to report discrimination.