Ambition Institute celebrates Raksha Pattni’s Women of the Year award

Oct. 17, 2023

Raksha Pattni has been named as the Women of the Year BP Community Champion 2023 for her work in tackling disadvantage through education.

Women of the Year is a not-for-profit organisation that recognises and celebrates the contributions of women throughout the UK and around the world.

Raksha was chosen to receive the award for her work to drive social mobility, particularly in the North, where the disadvantage gap is significant.

The award was presented by TV presenter and mathematician Rachel Riley at a special event hosted by Mel Giedroyc.

Raksha shared her experiences and aspirations, encouraging attendees to “be the change-makers and the champions of social mobility and make sure no child or young person is left behind because of their background.” 

Raksha joined the Ambition team in 2017. As National Partnerships Director, she oversees our relationships with key strategic partners across the education sector. This has included establishing and developing our national network of almost 60 delivery partners as Ambition has grown to become the largest provider of teacher education in England.

She led the development of a partnership with Liverpool City Council for 80 schools and 400 teachers to benefit from high quality evidence-based professional development.

She is also Chair of the SHINE Trust, a charity that works with teachers, schools, and other organisations to improve outcomes and help disadvantaged children in the North of England to fulfil their true potential. She took up the position earlier this year after having served as a trustee for five years.

Early in her career, Raksha worked for a charity that supports women into better-paid jobs and education. Later, she held roles as Head of Race Equality at Preston City Council, and then Business in the Community. She is a member of the Education and Skills Committee of The Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

Hilary Spencer, chief executive of Ambition Institute, said: “We are so pleased to congratulate Raksha on winning the prestigious Women of the Year Community Champion award. Her unwavering commitment to tackling inequality, and especially educational disadvantage, making a real difference to the most vulnerable in our society. This well-deserved award is a testament to her inspirational work to improve the lives of children.” 

Raksha said: “I feel incredibly honoured to receive the BP Community Champion Award. Through my work with SHINE and Ambition Institute I work with teachers every day and teachers are at the heart of the communities they serve. They make the biggest difference when they work hand-in-hand with those communities to drive change. I passionately believe that everyone should get a fair chance of success in life, regardless of where you live and whether your parents are rich or poor. Sadly, this is not the case everywhere in the country and particularly in the north of England. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds don’t do as well as their more affluent peers and by the time they leave school, at the age of 16, they are already behind by nearly 18 months and this has an inevitable impact on their future success and potential. That is why I dedicate my time and energy to champion education as one of the key drivers of social mobility. 

“Education is sometimes the only chance available for children to break the vicious cycle of poverty and disadvantage. I’m grateful to the Women of the Year awards for highlighting the issues that I am passionate about. I hope this honour inspires others to become change-makers and champions of social mobility and make sure no child or young person is left behind because of their background.”

Raksha Pattni with award.webp