My passion for education started a long time ago. My mum was a teacher. She had taught Primary and loved Early Years but my memories are of her at special schools – Colnbrook and Breakspeare. I used to go and help out from time-to-time. I was inspired by her commitment and the commitment of all the staff to achieving the best for these children.
It was also my mum who was primarily responsible for delaying my career in education. She was determined I would experience, ‘the real world’, and not go from school to university to a career in teaching. Like many others, she was also becoming increasingly disillusioned with the workload and administrative parts of the job. So after my history degree from Birmingham University I fell into a job in IT sales and subsequently marketing.
Working in IT I had the opportunity to travel. Later, I relocated to the Netherlands for a couple of years and lived in Eindhoven.
It was here that an emerging social conscience began to rear its head. I increasingly felt there must be more to life – and more I could contribute – than convincing people to buy a monitor/projector/LCD that was arguably no better – and potentially worse – than the next company’s.
I returned to England; still uncertain what I wanted but for the first time knowing it needed to be more than a pay cheque. I ended up at Groundwork: at least here, I was doing something ‘worthwhile’. It was better. However, I was still sat behind a desk. Occasionally I got to see some of the good we were doing but I still didn’t feel I was making a demonstrable difference.
It was during this time I got together with my now wife – a teacher. And – at the age of 32, a few weeks after I got married – I decided to train as a Primary teacher. I was fortunate to be accepted onto the Graduate Trainee Programme at Oakthorpe Primary School and in September 2009 I started my second career.
It’s fair to say I’ve never looked back. There have been good days and bad days. However, from the moment I walked into school, I felt at home. It fulfils my needs. I feel I am making a difference: a difference I can truly see. It’s never dull. Every day is different.
Since starting in Enfield I moved to Hackney and then Newham, which is where I am now. Head Teacher of Kensington Primary School.