Inspiring future generations

Inspiring future generations

Three Old Elizabethans are taking part in an élite, mission-based teacher-training scheme, which aims to place the brightest graduates into some of the toughest and most socially deprived schools in the country.

Kwamina Korsah (OE 2000-2007), Joe Sherman (2000-2007) and Kalil Rouse (2002-2009) are all part of the Teach First initiative, which puts graduates through an intensive course of on-the-job training to develop them into inspirational leaders, as well as teachers.

Kwamina Korsah read History at Magdalene College, Cambridge, before joining a brand consultancy on graduation. After 18 months he took some time out to travel and re-evaluate. “I needed a new challenge and decided to apply to Teach First because of the ethos of the programme,” said Kwamina. “You’re thrown in at the deep end; you spend nearly the whole two years actually teaching in your placement school, completing essays and the theoretical side in the holidays. The skills you acquire, such as organisation, presentation, communication and time management are all eminently transferable to other spheres.”

Teach First is a registered charity dedicated to enabling young people to overcome social disadvantage through education. It takes bright graduates and puts them through an intensive six-week course before placing them in a school. Kwamina is doing his training at Hatch End High School, a large mixed 11-18 comprehensive in Harrow with 1,800 pupils. “Being in a London suburb, it is by no means the toughest school in London but there are a lot of pastoral issues that constantly arise.” He also spent a week at QE, gaining valuable experience of working with very able children. His other placement will be at the Mossbourne Community Academy in Hackney, inner London. “I expect this is the one that will prove to be the toughest placement,” added Kwamina.

Whilst Kwamina is in his first year of the Teach First programme, Joe Sherman is in his second year. “I’ve been teaching English to 11-16 year olds at The Bridge Academy in Hackney and although it’s a tough course it’s been very rewarding,” he said. Joe graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in Politics; in addition to his teaching role he has, this year, had the extra responsibility of being a form tutor. The school became an academy in 2007 and its stated aim is to give young people the best possible education, whatever their background or ability. Joe will complete the course this summer and is then taking a six-month break to go travelling. On his return he will take up a place with management consultants Accenture.

“I am delighted that three of our old boys are taking part in a programme that has such a deep commitment to inspiring and developing young people through education,” said the Headmaster. “QE’s own ethos puts considerable emphasis on our boys making a contribution to society. A number of our pupils have chosen to enter the teaching profession over the years, although not through this particular programme. We count ourselves fortunate to have three OEs on the staff at the School: Nicholas Bird (1995–2002) who teaches PE; Hinesh Shah (1996–2003) who teaches Biology and Thomas Spenceley (2002–2009) who is currently training as an English teacher.”