Newham principal: You have to want to be PM to come to my college

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 January 2016

Principal Mouhssin Ismail  at Newham College Sixth Form Centre (The NCS)

Principal Mouhssin Ismail at Newham College Sixth Form Centre (The NCS)


The principal of Newham Collegiate Sixth Form has spoken of how he expects the world from his students.

One of the reasons bestselling author Simon Singh recently visited the college is because of its ambitious drive to have prominent figures in art, politics, science and business deliver talks to its students.

When asked how the likes of commons speaker John Bercow, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and TV entomologist George McGavin are encouraged to talk to students, principal Mouhssin Ismail simply says: “We just ask them.”

His response is emblematic of how he hopes to run his college.

“What we try to do is expose our students to these big names, to different views. The building we’re in looks like Oxford – and we try to encourage a culture of aspiration.

“The first thing I say to kids that want to come to this school is ‘you have to want to be prime minister to study here’.”

And if any student is underachieving or feeling unconfident, Ismail has an immediate retort.

“I was raised in Green Street and I went to a comprehensive but I still went to London School of Economics – and my parents didn’t even speak English.

“If I can do what I’ve done then they should be doing even more.”

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