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City execs teach East End kids for the day

PUBLISHED: 18:00 07 March 2011 | UPDATED: 17:26 09 March 2011

Julie Mercer, a partner at Deloitte, teaches Manorfield Primary School pupils Hibaq Saeed Jama, 9, and Akilma Begum, 8, as part of Teach First Week.

Julie Mercer, a partner at Deloitte, teaches Manorfield Primary School pupils Hibaq Saeed Jama, 9, and Akilma Begum, 8, as part of Teach First Week.

Archant

TWO city execs swapped the boardroom for the classroom as they became teachers for the day in East End schools.

Africa and animals was the subject of a Year 5 lesson for Julie Mercer, a partner at accountancy firm Deloitte, when she went into Manorfield Primary School in Bromley-By-Bow.

Malcolm Sweeting, senior partner at law firm Clifford Chance, headed to Mulberry Girls School in Shadwell.

The swap was organised by education charity Teach First, which works with schools where at least half the pupils come from poorer homes.

Ms Mercer said: “Most businesses are thinking smartly about where they are getting their talent from, rather than just going to the top universities. There are a lot of very bright young people from more deprived backgrounds who haven’t thought about the opportunities they might have. Many could be very successful in the city.

“Good teachers are so important but they can’t do it on their own. They need the support of the community, parents and business.”

Other big figures from the world of sport, journalism, music and politics also signed up to teach for the day.

Shadow education secretary Andy Burnham, Channel 4 news veteran Jon Snow and Slade frontman Noddy Holder headed into classrooms.

They planned their own lessons but had the support of Teach First teachers.

The charity recruits high-achieving graduates and places them in schools in challenging circumstances, while supporting them to become inspirational teachers.

It says the link between low family income and poor educational achievement is stronger in the UK than most other developed countries.

Brett Wigdortz, its founder and CEO, said: “Studies show that socio-economic status still determines whether children in the UK fulfill their potential.

“We think this is a deplorable situation that has to be urgently addressed.”

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