Sky donates over £1 million to Lewis Hamilton’s Mission 44 foundation

Sky has announced a two-year partnership with Sir Lewis Hamilton’s charitable foundation Mission 44, which aims to address the disproportionately high rate of school exclusions among Black students in the UK. The partnership forms part of Sky’s £30 million commitment towards tackling systemic racism and will see Mission 44 receive over £1 million during the two-year period.

Hamilton is personally driven to help address disproportionate exclusion rates as a result of his own experiences with behaviour management practises at school. Mission 44 aims to support, champion and empower young people from underserved groups in the UK to succeed by narrowing opportunity gaps with a focus on education and employment. 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: a 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.

Announcing the partnership, Sky’s Group CEO Dana Strong said: “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. 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.”

“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,” said Hamilton. “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.”

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.”

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