Principal of Newham Collegiate Sixth Form wins GG2 Leadership Award

Mouhssin Ismail, principal of Newham Collegiate Sixth Form. Picture: Asian Media Group

Mouhssin Ismail, principal of Newham Collegiate Sixth Form. Picture: Asian Media Group - Credit: Archant

The principal of a sixth form college in Newham who gave up a high-flying career as a lawyer to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds has won a prestigious award.

Mouhssin Ismail scooped the ‘Spirit in the Community’ category at the GG2 Leadership Awards last week.

The award was given in recognition of the success of Newham Collegiate Sixth Form (NCS) which he set up four years ago to deliver the best state education to the borough’s students.

The 39-year-old, who grew up in Forest Gate, studied law and work as a finance lawyer earning a six-figure salary.

He said he switched careers after becoming aware of the educational inequalities facing children from disadvantaged backgrounds and wanted to believe they could achieve academically.

“People from middle class backgrounds had this belief in themselves that they were going to achieve,” he said.

In 2017, 95 per cent of NCS’ students went to Russell Group universities, including offers from Oxford and Cambridge, as well as for competitive courses such as dentistry and medicine.

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“This award recognises the success that the college has had over the last four years,” he continued.

“It’s not just recognition of my achievement but also of the teachers who have worked so hard.”

Mouhssin said he believes passionately in the transformative nature of education and has helped many local young people achieve success and regularly speaks on social mobility, challenging stereotypes and disadvantage.

In addition, he runs his own lecture programme to enable his students to listen to and learn from a wide range of professional thought-leaders.

The GG2 Leadership Awards recognises high achievers within black, Asian and ethnic minority groups.

Mouhssin added: “It’s very humbling to have been nominated for this award.”

“None of this would have been possible without the exceptional leadership of the staff.

“I am so fortunate to have so many supportive staff.

“The award is also recognition of the fact that we’re trying to do something different in Newham, giving opportunities to kids from disadvantaged backgrounds which they would usually only get in a private school.”