Nurturing Equity and Excellence in Education: A Personal Journey

Author :

Gareth Newman CBE

Gareth is a leading Welsh educator, innovator, and policy advisor who was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for his longstanding, worldwide services in education. He lectures on education issues worldwide, and has advised the United Kingdom Government Department of Education for multiple Prime Ministers. Gareth also served as Special Advisor at the Government Department of Education in Whitehall, London and chaired the prestigious Curriculum Committee of the Welsh Joint Education Committee. He currently serves as GBPG Advisory Board Member for Education.

I live in Roath Park Lake, Cardiff, Wales, but my life began very differently in the midst of World War II, and has been marked by a series of transformative experiences that have shaped my understanding of the principles that should underpin the education system, which I would like to convey. From the caring influence of dedicated teachers to the challenges posed by social class disparities, my story reflects the need for a more equitable and inclusive approach to education. In this blog , I will share my personal experience and discuss the main principles that I believe should guide education systems to ensure fairness and excellence for all.

The Role of Compassionate Educators

My educational journey began with a delightful, caring, and expert lady teacher who instilled in me the importance of nurturing, supportive educators. Teachers have a profound impact on a student’s development, and their compassion and dedication can inspire a lifelong love of learning.

Overcoming Adversity

Growing up during a time of war taught me the importance of resilience and determination. Despite the disruptions caused by the war, the unwavering support of my parents allowed me to pursue my education. This experience emphasized the need to ensure that external circumstances do not hinder a child’s access to education.

Fostering Inclusivity

Moving between family homes exposed me to different educational environments and attitudes. While some schools encouraged education, others viewed it as a form of punishment. It became clear to me that inclusivity and valuing every student’s potential are crucial principles in education.

Celebrating Success and Mitigating Division

My unexpected success in a National Savings Competition brought recognition but also challenges. Instead of celebrating success, my achievement led to bullying and isolation. This highlighted the need to foster a culture in which every student’s achievements are celebrated, without fostering division or jealousy.

Combating Bias and Inequality

Throughout my educational journey, I encountered biases based on gender and social class. Teachers’ attitudes and prejudices influenced the school environment, underscoring the importance of recognizing and addressing bias to create an equitable learning environment for all students.

The Impact of Community Support

Returning to my ancestral village and attending a local junior school provided a strong sense of community support. Community involvement plays a critical role in a child’s education, emphasizing the need to engage families and communities in the learning process.

Valuing Every Student’s Potential

My experiences in different schools highlighted the disparities in treatment based on social class. Education should not reinforce negative attitudes but should empower all students to reach their full potential. Every child, regardless of their background, deserves a quality education.

Recognizing the Power of Guidance

My parents’ guidance and support were instrumental in navigating the challenges of the education system. Parents play a vital role in advocating for their children’s educational needs and ensuring they receive the support they deserve.

Promoting Equality of Opportunity

My own experiences and observations throughout my career in education have shown that those with wealth and privilege often benefit the most from the system. To achieve true equality of opportunity, we must work to dismantle the barriers that hinder disadvantaged students from realizing their potential.


My personal journey through education has taught me valuable lessons about the principles that should guide our education system. Compassionate teachers, inclusivity, community support, and a commitment to celebrating every student’s success are key elements in creating a just and effective education system. Education should be a force for positive change, breaking down barriers and empowering all students, regardless of their background. It is our collective responsibility to work toward a more equitable and inclusive educational landscape, where every child has the opportunity to thrive and contribute to society. The path to achieving true educational equality is long, but it is a journey worth undertaking for the betterment of our future generations.
When I look across Roath Park I see many children with potential and opportunity, its it down to everyone of us to unlock that power, leverage personal growth and invest in educational development for global communities and societies to blossom.