Hogan Lovells LLP: Raising aspirations of young girls in disadvantaged communities

Visit leader: David Harris CO-CEO, Hogan Lovells International LLP

Visit summary

I was delighted to lead this visit which demonstrated how partnerships developed by business and leading schools offer effective ways to ensure that young minority girls from lower socio-economic backgrounds, can be given opportunities and the aspiration to enable them to gain employment.

- David Harris,
Co-CEO Hogan Lovells LLP
The visit was designed to raise awareness amongst the most senior business leaders of the issues facing young girls in our most disadvantaged communities and how Mosaic is seeking to address them. The purpose of the visit was to:

  • Raise awareness of the important social issues with which Mosaic is concerned;

  • Profile the work of successful programmes and organisations; and,

  • Engage delegates to take action and develop appropriate business response(s).

The day began with the delegates meeting at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School (EGA) is an 11-16 girls’ school located between Kings Cross and the Angel. It is a vibrant community school which reflects the multi-cultural nature of London.  Around 60 languages are spoken and the school prides itself on creating an environment where girls from different backgrounds work, learn and play together and are a shining example of diversity at its best.

At EGA Jonathan Freeman, Mosaic’s National Director, introduced the visit, and visit leader David Harris explained why supporting the development of girls is important to Hogan Lovells and the programmes with which Hogan Lovells staff are engaged (including Mosaic’s Secondary School Mentoring Programme and Enterprise Challenge programmes, Hogan Lovell’s Debate It programme and the Business in the Community Business Class programme).

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School’s Head Teacher Jo Dibb provided delegates with context about the school, highlighting the existence of ‘two Islingtons’, where a difference emerges between the EGA experience and that of a girl from more advantaged background, and the resulting importance of building “social capital” to help EGA pupils make the most of their ‘educational capital’.  She highlighted the programmes which helped raise students’ aspirations, such as Mosaic’s Secondary School mentoring programme and the Debate It programme run by Hogan Lovells.  Ms Dibb emphasised the importance of  partnerships with Mosaic and other organisations to ensure that students at the school are fully supported to reach their potential.  Without such support, students’ backgrounds, rather than their ability, would remain the key determinant of educational achievement and life chances.

Delegates were joined by twenty Year 8 and Year 9 students on the Hogan Lovells Debate It programme and took part in one of two lively Debate It sessions:

  • This house believes that now is the worst time to be a young girl in London

  • This house believes it is more important to be beautiful than clever in today's world.

The delegates got fully into the event, sharing their own experience and views on the arguments raised, and encouraging the young girls to voice their views.

Moving onto Thomas Buxton Primary School, the delegates heard from Head Teacher Lorraine Flanagan on the school’s population, highlighting the strikingly high Free School Meal eligibility and the diversity of students.  Ms Flanagan went on to explain how the Mosaic Primary School mentoring programme has benefitted students in the school in previous years and what she hopes it will achieve this academic year.

Delegates had the opportunity to participate in a mentoring session and meet with some of Mosaics mentors, all of whom combine busy careers with volunteering as a Mosaic mentor. In the academic year 2012/13, Mosaic directly supported 5,000 young people in 140 schools and other institutions, supported by over 900 volunteers. 83% of our UK beneficiaries were drawn from the 20% most deprived areas of the country.

Delegates met and spoke with mentors who work for Gatehouse Bank and Business in the Community, who explained how mentoring not only benefits the mentee, but also offers mentors excellent personal development opportunities. The mentors described the powerful impact that having a positive role model can have on a young person, backed up by a research study of Mosaic’s programmes which was undertaken by Demos. The study showed that students who have been through Mosaic’s mentoring programmes are 10% more likely to want to go to university and there is a 17% increase in students’ belief that they would be able to gain a place at university if they chose to apply. 

Key outcomes

The inspirational leadership of David Harris on this report has helped to inspire the delegates to make a number of valuable commitments:

  • Khalid Javid is now a Mosaic Patron and will work with Mosaic to extend our mentoring programmes to Scotland

  • Irfan Ravat is fully committed to continue working with Mosaic. He has volunteered the services of five managers from his company to act as mentors on the mentoring programme, with a view to opening this up to all members of staff in the organisation in the near future

  • Jenny Impey is very interested in Mosaic and is interested in finding out more and to exploring how the John Laing Charitable Trust might be able to assist as a grant maker

  • Gail Larkin as incoming President of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) will promote the work of Mosaic nationally and internationally whenever opportunity arises. Mosaic has already delivered a presentation to the NAHT Primary and Secondary School Committees, which has already led to new schools signing up to get involved

  • Wakkas Khan has published an article in The Huffington Post on his visit, promoting Mosaic’s work to others. 

Mosaic would like to thank all of the delegates for their commitments. A very special thanks go to David Harris and Hogan Lovells LLP for generously sponsoring the visit.

Leadership message
There is a moral imperative for business to address why so many young minority girls from lower socio-economic backgrounds, who are bright, able and full of potential are lacking opportunities and facing substantial hurdles preventing them gaining good employment.  Women from ethnic minority backgrounds now constitute around 20% of the population of London and are a growing section of society. 

It is clear that much more needs to be done to develop the talent in our local communities and that business can make a real difference in helping raise the aspirations of BME girls, improving their social mobility and employability. The issue is complex but the programmes developed by leading schools such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson alongside Mosaic and Business Class are proving effective and offer an exciting way forward.  There are many businesses with excellent mentoring programmes in place and by working in partnership we can achieve the scale necessary to address this issue and make a real difference.


  • Iqbal Ahmed OBE - Chairman, Seamark

  • Luqman Bin-Dawood , Director DG Companies Ltd

  • Harris Bokhari - Director, Ascension Wealth and Mosaic Board member

  • Kate Cheetham - Deputy Group General Counsel, Lloyds Banking Group plc

  • Tauhid IJaz – Partner, Hogan Lovells

  • Jenny Impey - Trust Secretary, John Laing Charitable Trust

  • Shamique Ismail - Orthodontist, Herts Orthodontics

  • Khalid Javid - Principal, Khalid Javid & Co

  • Monazza Khan - Director, Transactions, Ford

  • Wakkas Khan - Director, Hyde Dental Practice

  • Gail Larkin - Vice President, National Association of Head Teachers

  • Ismail Murad - Operations Director, Al-Murad Tiles

  • Crispin Rapinet – Partner,Hogan Lovells

  • Irfan Ravat - Partner, Ravat & Ray Dental Care

  • Emily Reid – Partner, Hogan Lovells

  • Baroness Scotland of Asthall QC

  • Lucy Scott-Moncrieff – former President, The Law Society

  • Judith Shepherd - Global General Counsel Corporate & Investment Banking, Barclays

  • Lord Verjee CBE - Chairman, Thomas Goode

  • Chris Wormald - Permanent Secretary, Department for Education