Abi Misselbrook-Lovejoy, 42, Executive Head at Newington Green Primary School
"I was 31 when I became head - I was quite a baby head at that point. I was quite green behind the ears, a bit naive, but I just loved the school, the kids and the community and I would say, ‘if you cut me I would bleed green!’.
For me, there’s a real emotional connection to Newington Green because I’ve kind of grown-up here as an adult and I’ve seen lots of families come through the school. It has got quite an addictive vibe about it. I think the diversity of the area is a key thing - when I started, the school wasn’t very economically mixed. We had quite an ethnic mix, but we didn’t really have lots of families in different economic situations.
We’ve really changed over the last 10 years. We’ve got 36 languages in the school but we’ve also got families who are on very low incomes and are really struggling, to families that are very wealthy. And they all work wonderfully together in our school.
So the exciting thing about Newington Green is it’s a bit counter-cultural to the world. The kids find a way to play and learn together, which is fantastic. It’s a really proud moment when you see the children do their end of term speeches and for some of them you think ‘wow, you could barely speak English when you came’. We had a child who came from Iran and she was with us for two years. She didn't have a word of English when she arrived. and when she left she was the highest you could score in primary school and left a really articulate young lady.”