From university drop out to Academy principal

Kevin Rowlands is the principal of the successful Oasis Academy Immingham. But he ‘did just enough’ to get by at school because he didn’t believe that education was ‘for someone like me with a working-class background’, the Grimsby Telegraph reports. He left university after a term and worked in a variety of jobs, including as a sweeper in a meat factory and a baggage handler at Manchester Airport. But he worked hard, moved up the career ladder into management positions and by the time he was 29 was earning just under £40,000.

Then Kevin gave it all up to go back to university and study as a teacher. “I always wanted to be a teacher but I hadn’t made the grade,” he said, “But now, universities thought my professional record was more important.” He studied as a physical education teacher and came out with a 2.1, despite working part time. Within a year of becoming a teacher he joined the Future Leaders programme: “I seemed to have the qualities they were looking for, but not many would have the audacity to apply with only one year of experience.”

In 2011, aged just 39, Kevin took over the post of principal at Oasis Academy Immingham and since then results have soared; the number of students getting five A-C GCSEs has gone from 36% in 2010 to 56% in 2012, and he expects it to rise to 60% this year. But Kevin is determined that all his students will succeed: “We have improved since I took the post, but it’s not nearly good enough for me. Some people would celebrate an improvement so that 56% are getting five A*-C grades including English and maths. The way I see it, it is absolutely unacceptable that nearly half of these students aren’t reaching that. We need to convince that 44% that they can succeed in education and give them the individual support they need so that they can do that.”

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