Jamil’s journey from refugee to trainee teacher

A former student of the King’s Leadership Academy Liverpool, who came to Liverpool from Afghanistan 14 years’ ago, has returned to his academy school as a trainee maths teacher.

Jamil Wali arrived as a seven-year-old in Liverpool from Afghanistan unable to speak English and never dreaming that one day he would be standing at the front of a classroom.

Jamil now sees teaching as the way to use his experiences to show the next generation what they can achieve. What’s more his career is starting at King’s Leadership Academy Liverpool in Dingle which has played such an important part in his own education.

Jamil arrived in 2007 with his mother and four siblings to join his father who was already working in Liverpool. Initially he attended the Sacred Heart School in Kensington and struggled due to his lack of English. He set about learning the language by watching cartoons on TV.

After primary school, he moved to King’s Leadership Academy Liverpool, part of the Great Schools Trust, where he shone in maths and science subjects to become an ‘A grade’ student, even though he still struggled with some aspects of the language.

After attending Archbishop Blanch Sixth Form he became a student at Liverpool John Moores University, where he graduated earlier this year with a first in mathematics and finance.

Wanting to give something back to the community that had welcomed him and his family so warmly and driven by the support he had from his teachers at King’s Leadership Academy Liverpool, Jamil joined the School Direct initiative. The Great Schools Trust provide teacher training across each of its academies and means a return to his former school – now as a teacher rather than student. 

Jamil said: “Completing my degree I felt I wanted to give back something to recognise the support and encouragement I had throughout my education. Teaching allows me to do this and gives the opportunity to show others what they can achieve. 

“I know that maths isn’t everyone’s favourite subject so I am determined to make it interesting. The skills maths gives us are becoming increasingly important.  In our everyday lives from watching football or shopping we have to manage an increasing amount of data so understanding the principles of maths means being able to make the most of that information.”

David Crosby who was also Jamil’s maths teacher in Year 11 at King’s Leadership Academy Liverpool, said: “Jamil is an exceptional young man. He is the embodiment of our ethos that determination and effort can lead to extraordinary things happening. 

“It must have been incredibly daunting to be a seven-year-old going to school in a strange country and not being able to speak the language. It shows his strong character that after achieving a first-class maths degree he is now starting a teaching career.

“The school is incredibly proud of Jamil and delighted to welcome him back as a colleague. There is no doubt he will be a first-class teacher who can inspire our pupils to see what can be achieved no matter what their background.”  

Jamil initially attended Sacred Heart in Kensington, before moving to St Michael’s in Aigburth then to Kings Leadership Academy Liverpool for secondary education and before attending sixth form at Archbishop Blanch.

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