Education charity helping BAME students opens up to white working class 

07 Jan 2020 News

Generating Genius, a charity that has helped disadvantaged black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) children into higher education, will now also help white working class children in the Midlands and North of England.

The charity will continue working with BAME students, but it will use its existing model to reach white working class children too. 

Tony Sewell, the founder and chair of Generating Genius, said: “We are definitely continuing with our mission to support black pupils. Our staff and supporters understand this and are fully supportive.”

Its aim has been to help young people, particularly BAME children and those from low income households, to hold a representative proportion of places on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses at top universities. It also aims for girls to make up 60 per cent of its places, so that they are better represented in STEM subjects.

Sewell said that most of the students involved with the enterprise are from London, but the charity will now “seek diamonds” from areas like Burnley, Wakefield, Dewsbury, Workington and Bolsover.  

He said: “Inspired by the Conservative election victory, we have now expanded to Leeds and Manchester. Our target will be working class white young people.”

He added: “One cannot deny the impact of economic hardship in many of these areas.”

Sewell said Generating Genius would like to work with students from areas like Knowsley, a part of Merseyside. He said: “More than 15 per cent of the working-age population of Knowsley have no educational qualifications, compared with a national average of 8 per cent. Even worse, in September, Knowsley became the first local authority in the country to cease to offer its young people A-level education.”

Sewell said that children in schools in the North of England “start off on the back foot”, while students in London and the South East are more likely to go on to a top university. Pupils from a disadvantaged background in the South are also more likely to get five A* to C GCSEs than pupils in the North.

This decision comes in the wake of controversy surrounding two public schools' decision to reject a scholarship donation, intended exclusively for white working class boys, worth more than £1m. Dulwich College and Winchester College turned down the money from philanthropist Sir Bryan Thwaites, 96, over fears it would break equality laws.

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