The head of social mobility at Tile Cross Academy, Neil Mackintosh, has been working in schools serving disadvantaged communities in Brum for over 25 years, providing opportunities that middle-class children take for granted.
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
After university I went into the army as an infantry officer in the Staffordshire Regiment. I served in Germany at the end of the Cold War as well as in England, USA, Belize and two tours of Northern Ireland. My most rewarding time was training recruits at Whittington Barracks near Lichfield, as well as the pastoral side of being an officer and the responsible for the personal development of the soldiers under my command. After eight years this led to a career in teaching, and I have been working in schools serving disadvantaged communities in Birmingham since 1997.
IT’S WHAT I DO
In a nutshell I provide opportunities to our pupils that middle-class children take for granted. These are key to developing the social and personal skills that lead to successful adult lives and drive social mobility. They also broaden horizons and raise aspirations. These opportunities include residential trips in the UK and abroad, enrichment opportunities after school and exposure to career pathways the pupils have never heard of. It means I spend a lot of time sourcing grant funding and developing partnerships. This includes with Solihull School where we have now had five young people progress to their sixth form on fully-funded places. I am also chair of trustees of the Bryntail Cottage Charity, trying to revive this property in mid-Wales that has been used by children from Birmingham since 1915. One recent addition to my role is providing a pathway to boarding schools in partnership with the Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation.
Leading the top scoring team in the British Army’s Cambrian Patrol Competition in 1988. The Exercise has been running for more than 60 years and is the British Army’s principal All Arms Patrol Exercise and is open to all three Services (Regular and Reserve) and international participants.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
Be ambitious and seize opportunities.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE
I would love the Government to make an entitlement for children to certain experiences during their time at school and provide the funding to enable this. For example, a camping trip or a visit to the pantomime.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
I love the multi-cultural nature of Birmingham and being part of making that a success.
I enjoy running with Droitwich Athletic Club, walking and skiing holidays with my wife and spending time with my children when they are back from university.