Inspiring the Next Generation with Carlton Bolling School
Yesterday, our award-winning CEO, Ridwana Wallace-Laher was invited for a trip through the gates of Carlton Bolling Secondary School in Bradford to deliver an assembly of aspiration. After being a teacher herself for 13 years, Ridwana was thrilled to be back inside the school gates, inspiring students and telling her story. As a proud ‘Bradfordian’ herself, Ridwana loves to get out and about in the community and give back to the next generation in the area that raised her.
Ridwana gave a talk during the assembly, sharing her story of how she went from a teacher to the first female CEO of a major British Muslim charity. Her journey hasn’t been linear, with bumps and detours along the way: Ridwana explained that it was resilience which kept her coming back stronger.
Becoming CEO as a woman in a previously male-dominated sector wasn’t always Ridwana’s plan. As a hardworking head of year, she was adamant that her place was to teach the next generation… but who says she can’t still do that?
Ridwana’s journey is definitely something the students can aspire to, as it shows that you can do anything if you work hard, even in a situation where the odds are against you. Success should never be confined by gender or cultural expectations. Ridwana is a firm believer in having positive role models, especially for young girls; after all, you can’t be what you can’t see! She hopes that being a female CEO will inspire others to follow in her footsteps and break those barriers.
The theme of Ridwana’s visit was ‘aspiration’. Students were reminded and encouraged to dream big, set ambitious goals, and focus on key skills like resilience even in the face of challenges. After Ridwana’s talk, the headteacher of Carlton Bolling School reinforced the importance of key values that are central in preparing students for life beyond the classroom. School uniform, punctuality and making a good impression were highlighted as crucial elements in shaping individuals for success in the professional world. These are all traits that Ridwana herself looks for in potential new team members at Penny Appeal.
Carlton Bolling Secondary School is an Ofsted rated ‘outstanding’ school which has been on a rapid improvement journey over recent years. Its slogan is ‘excellence for all’ with three main ideas running through its core values. Ambition, respect, and resilience are instilled in all 1,400 students who attend and visits like Ridwana’s are guaranteed to keep them motivated and on their individual paths to success. Ridwana looks forward to her next visit and seeing the bright futures of the students come into fruition.
FRIDAY 1 DEC 2023