East Ham teacher makes television debut on University Challenge

Picture: BBC

Picture: BBC - Credit: Archant

A teacher who was born and raised in the borough is appearing on University Challenge on Monday.

Bobby Seagull, from East Ham, teaches maths at the East London Science School alongside studying for his Masters degree in education and maths at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

Bobby, 32, was deputy head boy at St Bonaventure’s school, and is now captaining his college’s University Challenge team.

At school, he was in the year below England striker Jermain Defoe and three years above rapper Tinchy Strider.

“St Bon’s was a great place to educated for a boy from the east end of London.”

Bobby praised its “strict discipline and hard-working ethos” and said he wanted to thank “Mr Workmaster and my maths teacher Mr Christe, who both supported me all the way through.”

The keen West Ham fan studied at the Forest Gate comprehensive until he won a prestigious sixth form scholarship to Eton College.

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The switch to the centuries-old school didn’t faze Bobby. “Having been to a boys school at St Bons, I was already used to the all boys part obviously!

“The boarding environment was the biggest change, but I loved it. The boys and teachers there were incredibly welcoming and it was the best two years of my life.”

He rubbed shoulders with royalty: “I even played football against Prince Harry in the inter-house school tournament!”

After school, Bobby went to Oxford then transferred to Royal Holloway. After graduation, he became a trader at the ill-fated investment bank Lehman Brothers before switching careers to become a chartered accountant with PwC.

He then decided to make yet another career-change, inspired by OxFizz, a social enterprise he set up whilst at Oxford to help schoolchildren apply to top universities.

“I actually enjoyed my work in finance and the City and was doing well, but thought that I could make more an impact on the lives of people in my community through being a teacher - inspiring children to have no barriers to their ambitions.”

Now Bobby is teaching full-time whilst studying at Cambridge, and still found time to appear on the quiz show. However, he couldn’t tell us if his team got through to the next round, as the BBC swore him to secrecy.

Bobby will be appearing on University Challenge on BBC Two on Monday night at 7.30pm.