My best teacher

4th March 2005 at 00:00
I was brought up in Ealing, west London, with two sisters and my mum and dad. Both of my schools were happy experiences for me. I loved my primary school, Montpelier. My favourite teacher there was Mrs Isaiah. She taught me when I was five years old, and she lived opposite me so I knew her quite well. She was sweet and warm. Some teachers would tell you off if you needed to go to the toilet after break, but Mrs Isaiah was kind. In other classes you would have to hold on until break time, but she was too nice to make you do that.

I remember there being a massive climbing frame in the playground, but when I went back there recently everything had shrunk. I couldn't believe how tiny the climbing frame was, and even the pegs and the toilets seemed small. My nephew goes there now, and I pick him up from school sometimes.

I'm going again soon to do an assembly for Comic Relief.

My secondary school was called Notting Hill and Ealing high school, a private girls' school. It was fee-paying, but I got an assisted place to go there. When I was in the sixth form I was already doing tv presenting, so I wasn't in lessons that much. I went to open auditions when I was 16.

Actually, I lied about my age: I was meant to be 18. There were about 700 people there and I never thought I would get the job in a million years, but I ended up presenting a satellite programme called TVFM.

It was thanks to my school that I could do it. I thought there would be no way they would let me take it when I got the job. I was doing maths, physics, chemistry and further maths - I thought I was going to be an engineer - but I had done my maths A-level early, so I just dropped further maths. That meant I only had two A-levels to do in my last year and could do tv presenting at the same time.

It was great. I used to go off and interview Take That in my free period. I had never been abroad anywhere and they sent me to America. It was a brilliant experience, and it looked good on my university application form too. In fact, it probably got me into Cambridge as much as my exams because I don't think I would have got in just on my A-levels. They like things that show a bit of initiative.

My physics teacher at Notting Hill was Mr Davison. He was tall and awkward, but quite comic at the same time. It's hard to put a finger on why he was so memorable. I remember he had a strange voice, really deep and slow.

Mary Sergeant, the head of sixth form, was special, too. My chemistry teacher had predicted a grade C, and I wouldn't have got into Cambridge with that. But Mrs Sergeant changed it for me, so it's thanks to her I went to Cambridge. She rocks.

Mrs Sergeant is married to television's John Sergeant, the political correspondent, and I know I could still get in touch with her if I needed to. I went to university with her son too, who is now working at BBC News 24.

Like a lot of Asian families, my parents came here from Bangladesh to give my sisters and me an education. It's odd thinking back to my own education, because my involvement in Red Nose Day has been about getting schools to do things. I've been filming in Uganda for a Blue Peter special about kids who can't go to school. Even though primary education is free there, many families can't afford the uniforms or the books, or the children have to work in the fields. There are a hundred million children around the world who need to get to school. Education is essential for getting out of the poverty spiral. It would be great if every school in this country could do their bit to help some of those children get to school.

Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq hosts a Blue Peter special for Comic Relief today. She is also promoting the 2005 Comic Relief schools pack (www.comicrelief.comschoolsandlearning) and supporting the Make Poverty History campaign. She was talking to Matthew Brown


1975 Born Ealing, London

1979 Attends Montpelier primary school, Ealing

1986 Notting Hill and Ealing high school

1989 Appears on BBCTV's Newsround interviewing Labour party leader Neil

Kinnock; appears as guest on Blue Peter with National Youth Orchestra

1991 Presents satellite show TVFM while still at school

1993-96 Reads economics at Robinson College, Cambridge

1997 Presents Channel Five's Milkshake and becomes Blue Peter's first Asian presenter

2001 Appears on The Kumars at No. 42

2003 Presents UK Top 40 on CBBC

March 4 2005 Presents Blue Peter special for Comic Relief

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