Newham headteacher who led 95% of his pupils into university is nominated for prestigious award

PUBLISHED: 10:00 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:04 12 January 2018

Mouhssin Ismail has been shortlisted for the TES Further Education (FE) Leader of the Year Award. Picture credit: NCS.

Mouhssin Ismail has been shortlisted for the TES Further Education (FE) Leader of the Year Award. Picture credit: NCS.


An inspirational headteacher who gave up a six-figure salary as a city lawyer to lead Newham Collegiate Sixth Form to success has been shortlisted for a prestigious teaching award.

Mouhssin Ismail is in the running for the TES Further Education (FE) Leader of the Year Award after his work resulted in 95 per cent of pupils at the sixth form college in East Ham gaining a place at a Russell Group university.

Mouhssin, who left a high-flying job at global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright to become a teacher in his old neighbourhood in 2009, said: “It’s a real honour to be shortlisted for this award.

“To be recognised by my peers as having made a significant contribution to the educational opportunities of the young people is humbling.

“But as I have said before, I did not leave the City to become a teacher for the accolades. I did it because I felt there was a wealth of untapped potential in my old inner-city neighbourhood.

Thanks to Mr Ismail’s contacts, pupils have benefited from Eton style work experience opportunities including placements in Abu Dhabi with top law firm White & Case LLP and at Kyoto University in Japan.

In November last year, NCS pupil Selina Begum, 16, became the first student from a state school to win best debater at the prestigious Eton Autumn Invitational.

The sixth form this year hope to send 20 pupils to Oxbridge and replicate last year’s success of sending a pupil to a top US university after helping Tafsia Shikdar get a place at MIT in 2017.

Mouhssin added: “We have shown that given the right opportunities and the right educational environment these young people can compete on a level playing field. “There is no secret to our success, it is entirely down to hard work, determination, and the quality of our teachers.

“There may be poverty in Newham but there is no poverty of ambition. These young people are determined to succeed, we just given the tool and opportunities to do so.

The 2018 TES FE Awards ceremony will take place on February 23.

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