It was inevitable that Firmstone Education’s founder, Abisola Idowu, would be a teacher. The youngest of four children born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Abi was fortunate to be part of a family that considered education to be very important. Both her grandmother and her mother were teachers and her father was an accountant.
“My parents realized the value of education and understood that each of their children’s needs and interests was different. We were never forced to take a path they wanted us to take,” she says.
Abi followed her sister to a boarding school in the UK. “Even though I desperately wanted to go, I was not prepared in any way for life away from home,” she said. Also, the school Abi attended turned out not to be a great fit for her. In fact, she and her sister, who is much more of an extrovert, had completely different experiences at the same school. “The school had lots of extra curricular activities like drama and debating which were perfect for my sister but not a good match for me. Even though it was a great school, a smaller school would have been better for me,” she added. Abi understands from her own lived experience how important school selection is.
After graduation, Abi returned to Nigeria to attend University. She then went back to the UK to complete her PGCE and a Masters in Education Management and Leadership. With her teaching degree in hand, Abi started her career teaching in the UK, Nigeria and Canada before settling down permanently in London.
Abi has also become very knowledgeable about finding the perfect boarding school or university. Over the years, she has matched the children of many friends and family with the perfect school. Each of her four sons has attended private schools and university. “This has made me an expert in bursaries and financial aid,” she says.
Abi lives in London with her husband and two dogs, Woody and Mr Doobert. Currently, she is writing children’s stories featuring her dog.