Toib Olomowewe | Teach First

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Toib Olomowewe

  • Studied: Economics & History, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  • Taught: Business Studies, East London
  • Now: Russell Group programme leader, East London school
Toib Olomowewe

I was always interested in education, but I spent my undergrad years quite enamoured by the City and its bright lights and its prestige. Teach First gave me the opportunity to marry those two interests. The creativity I learned in the classroom really stood me in good stead when I went to work at Procter & Gamble after the Leadership Development Programme.  My ability to communicate with different stakeholders was really useful in the business world as well.

I really did love P&G.  I loved the environment. I loved my colleagues. I loved the work I was doing, but you get used to that quite quickly. Then you're left with the actual job you're doing day to day.  I would always remember that every day in teaching I laughed – not smiled, actually laughed. That's a tremendous privilege. I had some of my old students emailing me about how they're getting on at university.  I got really nostalgic and I realised that was my calling, so I made steps to go back into the classroom.

Now I'm Russell Group programme leader at a north London school. That means I am in charge of all our high-attaining students, our brightest students, and developing a pathway for them from the age of 11 right through to when they're 18 or 19 and go to university. It’s about increasing the percentage of A and A* grades that we get and increasing the percentage of students we send to the most selective universities.

I think it's really important to have diversity on our school leadership, because diversity mitigates against homogenous thinking. You need to have people from different backgrounds who can provide different perspectives, so the students can see that actually there are no barriers to success. It's much more powerful when you see a plethora of different people in different roles, so the students can aspire to that themselves. I also think it's very important for students to see there are people who look like them, who sound like them, who are from where they're from, who are also in positions of leadership.