STEM from Black is an important new campaign that aims to recruit and upskill 150 Black STEM teachers by encouraging people to apply for spaces on the Teach First Training Programme.
“Representation is key. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it”, says successful managing director turned deputy headteacher Dwain Brandy in a short film supporting the launch of the campaign. Showing up and being visible to show potential recruits to the programme of what’s possible, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, who is fronting the campaign is joined by Nadine Bernard, head teacher and founder of Aspiring Heads, Professor Nira Chamberlain OBE, mathematics professor and Aqueel Morgan, Teach First science trainee.
The STEM from Black campaign, backed by Lewis Hamilton’s charity Mission 44 and education charity Teach First, is all about shining a light on the experiences of Black STEM leaders, celebrating their contributions to society, and making practical and tangible steps to recruit and upskill a further 150 Black STEM teachers.
Someone who knows the benefits of a career in STEM, which means Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, is Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, co-founder of the award-winning social enterprise, Stemettes. Dr Imafidon, who was voted the most influential women in tech in the UK of 2020 by Computer Weekly, spoke about the need for more people going into STEM.
“STEM teachers are one of the most important things when it comes to future STEM talent.”
She said: “STEM teachers are one of the most important things when it comes to future STEM talent. A huge part of this is about knowledge, having those basics and having those foundations. However, what’s most important is having teachers who can inspire, connect and motivate pupils to take on STEM knowledge.”
However, STEM in Black focuses specifically on encouraging people from the Black community, hence the support from Sir Lewis Hamilton’s charity Mission 44, which aims to transform the lives of young people facing disadvantage and discrimination.
The STEM from Black campaign includes a powerful short film featuring the campaign ambassadors. In the film Dr Imafidon said: “Black people are incredibly creative. So, STEM is a perfect marriage to the community. I see STEM as almost like a shortcut that we can use to solve problems that matter to us.”
“I see STEM as almost like a shortcut that we can use to solve problems that matter to us.”
Demonstrating the real-world impact of having more Black people in STEM, Aqeel Morgan, Teach First Science Trainee, said: “So as a science teacher in particular, one of the major impacts that we had in the community is the recent COVID pandemic. Some of the attitudes towards vaccines and masks and some of those things, in my opinion a lot of those attitudes came around because of a lack of scientific literacy.
“Science teachers in my opinion certainly contribute and help the community as a whole because these students are able to go out in the real world, understand the information which is available to them and make really key critical decisions based on their health and the health of their communities as well.”
With only 2.4% of the teaching workforce identifying as Black, (GOV.UK, 2022) compared to 84.2% of teachers being white British and the subsequent impact being a significantly lower representation in STEM subjects, initiatives like STEM in Black are essential to removing barriers for Black children.
“Representation is key. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.”
Illustrating this, Dwain Brandy touches on his own personal journey into teaching. He said: ” ‘Representation is key. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it’.”
‘’I always knew I wanted to be in a position of influence. I stuck to my values and nurtured my values and that led me to a position of leadership.”
Watch the STEM from Black short film
What is Teach First?
Teach First is an education charity who are fighting to make the education system work for every child. The Training Programme is a two-year, salaried teaching and leadership programme, culminating in the award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Teaching and Leadership (PGDE).
Join the Teach First Training Programme.