Ben Waine

Country: United Kingdom
Sector: Higher Education
Job title: Lead Practitioner Lord Grey Academy & Post-16 Lead
Subject of study: History & Politics
Year of graduation: 1997
Type/Level of study: Undergraduate

Current Employer/Organisation Name

Tove Learning Trust & NCETM

What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

I spent 1997 to 2009 as an ICAEW-Qualified Chartered Accountant with EY. Between 2007-10 I transitioned, via a secondment to HMRC and the OECD and time volunteering with a school in Southwark and Bletchley Park’s Education team, to teaching mathematics in State Middle, Upper and Secondary Schools in the wider area around Bletchley. Between 2010 and 2020 I progressed to become a Lead Practitioner in Mathematics Teaching and Post-16 Lead for the NCETM Enigma Region (encouraging secondary schools and FE Colleges to find the best CPD for their mathematics teaching staff).

Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?

You’ll note this was not a single career. Thank goodness. During the 1980s and 1990s I had been educated to understand there would be no such thing as a “job for life”. During that time I determined a “career for life” may not be entirely helpful either. That view was strengthened when hearing Lord Jenkins of Hilhead speaking at the Exeter Debating Society Annual Dinner in the mid-1990s. Add into that mix a combination of A-Levels featuring two full mathematics A-Levels, History and English (Literature and Language) and maybe you’ll understand my “mixed” path. If I mention that, starting circa 2012, I enjoyed covering a full class of year 9 English teaching for two successive years alongside my maths teaching (since timetabling allowed it and a maternity leave made it helpful) and you may get a sense of a desire for a little variety. EY was, of course, enjoyable. I reached Senior Manager in Corporate Taxation (mainly audit) within ten years in London; however, there were a number of factors (including studying Wordsworth’s “The Prelude” during my final year at Exeter) that meant when ten years were up, it was time for a change – and time to say farewell to London. I have to admit, I didn’t quite manage the timing to perfection: the capital’s pull was strong. Nonetheless, the children I had seen whilst walking to/from the train station each day were calling. It would be great if I managed to help a few of them in a good way. What do I enjoy most about my work? Seeing people become more firmly and responsibly independent.

Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?

Raddon House, Birks – Hall President (1995-96) Debating Society – Inter-varsity Team (1994-97), Junior Convener (1994-95), Treasurer (1995-96) History Department – Staff-Student Committee Secretary (1995-96) Anglican Society (1996-1997) Choral Society (1994-97) Out Of Doors Society (1995-97) European Society (1995-96) Fresher Mentor (Autumn 1996).

Were you part of the Exeter Student Ambassador Scheme at any point during your studies?


What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?

The Political Economy of Regulation (third year course taken in my second year). Post-Communism.

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

Variety, the gardens, the people and the weather.

Why did you choose to study at Exeter?

The gardens and surrounding countryside and the offer from Exeter (ABB) being higher than Bristol’s (BBC). I was young and foolish: I thought the offer from Bristol would dis-incentivise me and I did not want to study in a big dark city.

What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?

Networking. Multi-tasking. Independent research.

What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?

Remember all who you know. Prioritise.


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