On Wednesday 14 June, Teach First welcomed 250 guests to the Science Museum as part of our 15th anniversary Challenge the Impossible campaign. With Vernon Kay as our enigmatic Master of Ceremonies, rousing performances by the West London Free School choir and a series of powerful speeches – including one from our keynote speaker Matt Brittin, Google’s Europe chief - it was certainly an evening to remember.
Vernon Kay kicked-off proceedings, extolling the virtues of great teachers and the staggering lack of social mobility in the UK which means young people from poorer background have just a one in three chance of getting good GCSEs. We were also delighted to hear from Chris Rix, Partner at our headline event sponsor and Teach First Transformation Partner, Deloitte.
With the dinner being served in the truly inspirational Making of the Modern World Gallery, guests were seated amongst iconic objects that chart the development of science and technology over the past century and a half.
The awe-inspiring space was the perfect setting to highlight the importance of giving young people a great education, with our Founder & CEO Brett Wigdortz asking in his speech: “What objects might the Science Museum be displaying in an equivalent exhibition in 100 or 200 years' time, and what are the young people who could go on to create these objects doing right now?”
One of these amazing young people, and undoubted star of the show, was a Year 10 pupil from Reach Academy in Feltham, Shaeera. After a tough few years of very challenging behaviour at school and difficult circumstances at home, Shaeera has now completely turned her life around. She puts this transformation down to the amazing support of her teachers at Reach Academy, particularly Teach First teacher Phil Fowkes. Now, her ambitious but absolutely achievable future plans include studying Psychology at the University of Cambridge. Check out this video to hear Shaeera and Phil’s incredible story:
Thanks to bids for items in our silent auction coming in thick and fast, and after a personal and moving speech from our Executive Director, Ndidi Okezie, the generosity of guests over the course of the evening was remarkable. We’re hugely proud and grateful to have raised over £300,000 for our work, with donations still coming in.
These vital funds will enable us to train 25 teachers to lead careers education in their schools, reaching 19,000 pupils. We’ll also be able to support 120 young people through our two-year university mentoring programmes, Futures. 80% of Futures pupils go on to university, 40% to Russell Group institutions.
None of this would have been possible without the generous support of our partners and supporters. We’d also like to extend our thanks to event partners, Ashurst and Jupiter Asset Management, as well as the National Development Board, guests, speakers, participating schools and pupils who each took part in helping to make it such a memorable and inspiring evening.