A teacher who starred in a Channel 4 documentary has been appointed the new head of a school in Dagenham.

Avani Higgins has been made headteacher of Eastbrook School, after acting as headteacher at Connaught School for Girls in Leytonstone for three years.

She said: "I passionately believe that the right education has the transformative capacity to change lives, to lift communities, to create belief and high expectations among young people."

In 2014, Mrs Higgins appeared on Channel 4's Educating the East End as a history teacher at Frederich Bremer School, Walthamstow. Additionally, she has spent the majority of her life living and working in east London.

Mrs Higgins said: “As a born and bred east Londoner I share a similar background with many of the young people who attend this school.

"I have walked in the same footsteps as these young people, along the same corridors, faced the same challenges, overcome the obstacles they will not need to overcome to succeed."

As a former child refugee, Mrs Higgins fled Uganda with her parents aged six when Ida Amin expelled Indians in 1972.

She added: "It would have been easy to use my immigrant background or coming from a disadvantaged background as an excuse to not succeed. I didn't; I want to be a role model to these children.

"To be successful adults, young people need a strong grounding. They need to feel cared for, supported and nurtured so they have the confidence to grasp opportunities."

Mrs Higgins described Eastbrook School as a place where the "teachers know every child's name" and where students are "treated as individuals".

She said: "Exams success is important but I also believe attending to the needs of the whole child is absolutely crucial.

"We need to be offering our students more than the ability to pass exams. We want them to leave us confident, happy, well-rounded people with the confidence to thrive in a competitive working environment."

As a mother of two, Mrs Higgins continued: "I am a huge advocate of parental engagement. That means respecting and understanding the community you serve.

“I want the parents at this school to feel like they can come talk to me. Whatever their concerns, my door will always be open.”