Deborah Gockelen - 15 years of partnership with teach first | Deloitte UK has been saved
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We teamed up with Teach First in 2006 – fast forward 15 years and our relationship is still going strong. Throughout this time, we have worked together with the shared aim of building a fair education for all children.
Education in the UK isn’t as fair as it should be. Children from poorer backgrounds don’t have the same access to education and employment opportunities as those from wealthier families. The effects of which can last a lifetime. Through fundraising, volunteering and pro bono work, Deloitte is helping charity Teach First create a fairer education system so that children from disadvantaged communities have more opportunities to succeed and thrive.
To celebrate everything we’ve achieved, we’re sharing stories from across our broad partnership. Deborah Gockelen, Assistant Principal at Milton Keynes Academy, explains the impact our support has had.
An evolving partnership
I’ve been working with Deloitte since 2010. Our school is situated in an economically deprived area of the town and, initially, the support was aimed at helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds who were considering university. As part of what was called the Higher Education Access Programme, students were funded to attend open days at Russell Group universities on Saturdays and offered academic mentoring from Deloitte staff.
One student had never been on a train until they went on a visit to the University of Birmingham. They have now graduated from Warwick with a first-class honours degree in English Literature.
The programme has really evolved. With interventions not only in the sixth form but also in Year 11. Nine years on, we have about 15 Deloitte staff each year, from various departments, helping our students to gain all important employability skills.
Whole curriculum approach
Employability features throughout our curriculum and Deloitte is there providing fun challenges in year seven through to mock interviews and ‘meet the employer’ speed dating in key stage four. Deloitte contributes to a careers fair for year 11s and, for our sixth formers, they organise mock interviews, CV workshops and group tasks as part of an employability assessment day.
For the past five years we’ve been involved with the TMT Schools Challenge, where sixth form students are paired with Deloitte mentors and some of their largest clients. They have to come up with an innovative service, disruptive content or a new hardware product. Two of our pupils, having been part of a team that went to the national finals, went on to gain apprenticeships at Deloitte’s office in Milton Keynes.
The pandemic has been difficult, but Deloitte gave us 100 laptops to help combat the digital divide and an £8,000 donation to help with some of the additional concerns caused by Covid-19, like mental health provision, coaching and additional technology. They also funded four places on a staff wellbeing course, which was particularly important during lockdown.
Inspiring the next generation
Deloitte volunteers have an impact on young people’s life chances. More of our pupils now want to study business or financial services – in fact, it’s growing year-on-year. There’s been an increase in students attending Russell Group universities, with 25 percent of our year 13s hoping to go this year.
We’ve also seen a drop in the number of school leavers not in employment, education or training. It’s currently 2.2%, the average for the town is 4.6 percent and in our area it’s six percent.
The partnership has had an impact on our staff, too. They can see how the skills they’ve developed can be transferred to business. They also have sessions with Deloitte to help them shape their curriculum, making sure that what they are teaching is relevant in the business world.
It’s so important for businesses to support education – so many young people need this kind of interaction. The volunteers see the pupils blossom and the impact they make by being part of something like this. We have students who say they want to ‘work for Deloitte’ instead of ‘I want to work in finance’. We have been extremely grateful for the passion felt by staff in the Milton Keynes office, backed by Deloitte’s determination to make a difference, that has made this all possible.
Find out more
We’ve achieved a lot in the past 15 years, but it’s just the beginning. Read our anniversary stories and discover more about our work by visiting our Responsible Business blog.
Charlotte has been working at Deloitte since 2011 across various marketing roles. She has been part of the firm’s Responsible Business team since 2016, managing marketing and communications for One Million Futures and the recently launched 5 Million Futures programme in the UK.