Janek Whitaker.jpg

Role: Staff Governor

Committee: Resources & Curriculum

Link role: Closing the Gap | Governor Self Review

Born, raised, and educated within Hackney until the age of 18, I first attended Stoke Newington School for after school drama classes when I was in Year 10. When I was placed here during teacher training, I knew I could not see myself working at any other school. I have been at Stoke Newington as a teacher since 2015 where I am a science teacher with a physics specialism however, I have taught maths, IT, and the Extended Project Qualification previously. As well as teaching every year group in the school, I have been the Key Stage 4 science coordinator, Head of subject for Physics and EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) and I am now a head of year for the Sixth Form. I have developed positive relationships across students and staff and was keen to utilise my knowledge of the school further. I was elected staff governor in 2022.

As a governor at local institution BSix College for 10 years, I was part of a team that oversaw incredible growth and change within the college. I worked closely with the marketing and enrolment team rebranding the college to act as a beacon for students for whom the compulsory secondary education system had not met their needs. I supported subjects and senior school leaders prepare for Ofsted inspections and raise standards across the school.

One of my first jobs was running a summer school at Gayhurst Primary and Hackney Free (now The Urswick School) in Hackney in 2003 and I knew then that I would eventually be working in education full-time. Outside of the education sector I am a qualified accountant, published scientific researcher and have the very grandiose title of Radiation Protection Officer for the borough of Hackney (my parents were equal parts proud and terrified at the job title!).

This stage in a young person’s life is crucial and the school has the privilege and responsibility of making sure we hold ourselves to highest standards and do right by students and staff alike. Wellbeing and personal development are as important as academic success and the mission of governors is to scrutinise, question and champion the work that we do here.

I am living proof the difference in educational experience can make to someone’s life and life chances and this drives me to give every student at Stoke Newington School the best possible experience, qualifications, and future opportunities.