Norfolk head teacher named Cumbrian alumnus of the year

Norfolk head teacher named Cumbrian alumnus of the year

A head teacher who made the top position a mere seven years after graduating, despite a successful battle with cancer, has been named ‘alumnus of the year’.

Imran Khan, 29, originally from  London, now working in Norfolk, was awarded the accolade at the University of Cumbria’s graduation ceremonies on Tuesday 12 July.

Nominated by former tutor, Sue Temple, Imran received the award for his tremendous professional and personal achievements.

Imran studied BA (Hons) Primary Education with Qualified Teacher Status in Carlisle.

During his time at Fusehill Street, he met his future wife, Beth, when they both attended history specialism classes Sue taught. 

Their friendship developed and after graduation, they moved to Norfolk to be closer to their families.

Working in a primary school in a ‘tough’ catchment area, Imran’s leadership potential was quickly spotted and he rapidly moved up the ranks to acting deputy head.

However, it was in December 2016 that Imran received the shock diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, just days before he and Beth were due to get married. His treatment involved six months of chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy.

Imran said: “I managed to get out of hospital the night before my wedding which went ahead as planned!

“During my treatment, I worked part-time and it did make me realise that life is short and that you shouldn’t hold back in achieving your ambitions, whatever they are.

“I am lucky to be in complete remission and this experience has given me real resilience. It takes a lot for me to think I’m having a hard day now, which is sometimes really useful when dealing with everyday stresses and responsibilities of the job, as I can put everything into perspective.”

After returning to full-time work, Imran secured his first headship at Buxton Primary School in Norfolk, Easter 2018. 

He now leads 34 staff with almost 200 children in the school, and is progressing its ‘outstanding’ OFSTED rating.

Imran and Beth welcomed their first child Zac on Valentine’s Day this year.

Reflecting on his meteoric rise, Imran continued:

“It’s only when people bring up the short time frame, that I realise that I have been incredibly lucky to gain the role so quickly.

“It has felt like part of my natural progression as I have been fortunate to work in forward thinking schools that have invested in my development. I have to admit that this has been coupled with a lot of hard work and an ambition to make a positive impact on children’s lives on a larger scale.”

Imran’s tutor, Sue Temple, Senior Lecturer in Primary Education with QTS regularly keeps in touch and when Imran got his headship, Sue was quick to congratulate him.

She said: “Becoming a head teacher in just under six years is an amazing achievement and all before his 28th birthday!”

“Imran is a real inspiration and his achievement is a testament to seizing the day despite what life throws at you.”

Imran received the award of ‘Alumnus of the Year’ on Tuesday 16 July at the 12pm ceremony.

The ceremonies run for two more days, which will see students graduate in social work, policing and law to psychology, heath, leadership, forestry and outdoors studies.