As my influence has grown, the Teach First community has helped me at every stage
At every stage of her career, the Teach First community has opened doors that meant Gavina Raindi could make a bigger impact.
Now Senior Assistant Head at Stuart Bathurst Catholic High School, she’s part of the team currently completing our Leading Together programme. She’s since found it exhilarating to play a part in turning the school around.
We really needed the Leading Together programme. The school has been going through a period of intense change, and I’ve seen the benefit of having experienced coaches and former school leaders just a phone call away.
Our Achievement Partner, Tessa, has been amazing. Even through the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve been getting consistent coaching. In these times, it’s so important to have somebody outside the school to talk to and bounce ideas off. You need that external outlet and Leading Together has really given us the opportunities - and the time - to step back and reflect with experienced leaders. It’s just been invaluable.
Lasting benefits of the Teach First community
I feel sure our relationship with Tessa, and leaders in other schools we’ve got to know along the way, will continue beyond the two-year programme. Sharing good practice and pooling ideas stops you becoming insular as a school. And it’s a national programme, which encourages you to look outside your local authority and make links across the country.
In my 10 years at Stuart Bathurst Catholic High School, I’ve gone from classroom teacher to a school leader responsible for the quality of education for nearly 1,000 students. As my influence has grown, the Teach First community has helped me at every stage. It wouldn’t have been possible without that support – the CPL (continuous professional learning), the interview skills, the sounding board.
Empowering girls at school
Growing up, I never thought I’d become a teacher. But when I look back now, some of my fondest memories go back to the play classroom I set up as a little girl. So I can see how the dots connect!
I’m the daughter of first-generation immigrants from India and the Philippines, and was the first in my family to go to university. From the moment I discovered Teach First, at a university careers fair, their mission of building a fair education system connected with my own history and purpose.
After completing the Training Programme, I found myself at a bit of a crossroads, wondering which way to go next. But then, an opportunity arose – overseeing girls’ achievement at Stuart Bathurst. I was convinced I could work with the school to make the impact that was needed.
Back then at our school, girls’ achievement lagged behind the boys. As a British Asian woman, I know the pressures that girls and young women face, and felt passionate about the project. So, I set up an initiative called Empower, focusing on raising the aspirations and confidence of girls. It was exciting to be part of that change-leadership model, which also set me on the way to becoming Head of Year and now Senior Assistant Headteacher.
Opening doors through Teach First’s networks
It was through Teach First’s ambassador community that I also discovered #WomenEd: a grassroots movement where I’ve found a lot of ideas and advice.
I’m now exploring opportunities to speak on national platforms, through Teach First’s BAME Network. They’ve invited me to take part in a panel, and also to speak to the new Teach First trainees at Summer Institute. The doors that have opened have been amazing.
Staying and making a difference
I’ll admit I wasn’t always sure about spending the first 10 years of my career at a single school. But the Teach First community gave me opportunities to talk with coaches and leaders. Those conversations convinced me that it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been in one school or five schools, as long as you’re always growing and learning.
I'm never bored and I’m always learning something new.
Like Gavina, if you've completed any of our programmes, that makes you a Teach First ambassador. You are now part of a community changing education for the better. Our community consists of teachers, leaders, policymakers and beyond, bringing their expertise to help unlock the potential in all children. No matter where you've chosen to go after your time with Teach First, as an ambassador, you're a critical part of the solution to ending educational inequality.
Find out more about how you can stay connected and continue to make an impact, below:
If you're interested in developing your career with us, explore our leadership programmes: