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Lessons from my great-grandmother: Girls can achieve great things in maths and science – Nina Ridge, Weather Presenter turned Maths Teacher

Nina Ridge

Nina Ridge trained as a teacher, where she taught maths and PE before changing career to become a TV weather presenter on the BBC. 15 years later she decided to return to teaching to help her balance her work and family commitments more easily. She currently teaches maths on a part time basis.

Nina Ridge
Nina Ridge

“…Returning to teaching was easier than I thought – after contacting the school I had previously taught at they gave me the opportunity to spend some time back in the classroom…”

From teaching to broadcast meteorology, and back to teaching

After graduating from the University of Leeds with a degree in Maths and Management studies, I decided to do a PGCE [postgraduate certificate in education] in maths and games at Bristol University. As a qualified teacher, I returned to my old school Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge where I taught maths and PE for two and a half years.

Whilst teaching I saw a job advert in the Guardian for broadcast meteorologists to join the Met Office and work at the BBC. The job needed Maths and Physics A-Levels, a scientific degree and good presentational skills.

So I changed career in December 2001, trained as a forecaster with the Met Office and then went straight to the BBC to start presenting on what was ‘BBC News 24’.

For the next 15 years I then presented the weather across all BBC television channels, Radio 4 and BBC 5Live. The job was great fun, a real mix of science and creativity. However the challenges of commuting into London, working shifts 24/7, being a mother to four children aged ten to six and having a husband in the army started to take their toll and I felt my work / life balance needed a change.

Returning to teaching – easier than I thought

Returning to teaching was easier than I thought – after contacting the school I had previously taught at they gave me the opportunity to spend some time back in the classroom. When a part time job was advertised I felt ready to make the change. The school were incredibly supportive with the timetable they offered me; it gave the balance I was looking for – maintaining a career but spending more time with my children.

I currently teach maths part-time – the equivalent of three days a week but spread over four short days which allows me to collect my younger children from primary school. It has been hard work learning the new curriculum and getting back up to speed in the classroom but I am definitely now starting to feel more at home.

I enjoy the interaction with the children and seeing those ‘light bulb’ moments when explaining maths.

My female role model

Dr. Sylvia Payne
Dr. Sylvia Payne

My great-grandmother was Dr. Sylvia Payne. She qualified as a doctor in the early 1900’s and went on to become one of the earliest pioneers of psychoanalysis.

Although she died before I was born, she left a legacy in my family which led to the belief that girls can do maths and science, and achieve great things.

Finding out more about returning to teaching

To find out more information about returning to teaching, and to register for support, click here, or just contact a local school!






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