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The College of Teachers – Launch Article

The First Asian/Muslim To Attend Cabinet Gives An Inspirational Speech About His Former Headteacher (First Asian/Muslim Secondary Headteacher) at the Naz Legacy Foundation Launch

The Rt Hon Sadiq Khan MP gave an inspirational speech to over 160 headteachers, teachers and educationalists from across the country.  They were attending the Naz Legacy Foundation’s inaugural event, launched by HRH Princess Badiya bint El Hassan of Jordan at Ernest Bevin College.  It was here that Naz Bokhari OBE became the first Asian/Muslim secondary headmaster in the UK.

Sadiq Khan former pupil of Naz Bokhari and the first Asain/Muslim cabinet member opened this speech as follows: ‘Mr Bokhari was a great Headteacher for a great school, and tonight I would like to talk about how one person can inspire the lives of future generations.’

He continued later: ‘As a teacher, he broke glass ceilings as both the first Muslim Deputy Head, and then Headteacher, of a British secondary school. Mr Bokhari became the Headteacher of the local comprehensive secondary school, which I attended when I was 13. For me and other boys of my background it is difficult to explain the impact his appointment had on us. To see the most senior job in the school being done by an excellent professional who also happened to be British, Asian, male and Muslim was a real source of inspiration to many of us.  Mr Bokhari always viewed himself as a teacher who was also a Muslim, rather than a ‘Muslim Teacher’.’

And concluded by saying: ‘The foundation bears more than just a name in common with Naz Bokhari – his own ideals run through it like a stick of rock. The foundation will annually recognise those students who overcome adversity and achieve excellence, despite personal or social challenges in their way. Mr Bokhari inspired us with his actions, and through the Naz Legacy Foundation his memory will be honoured. As Naz Bokhari said: “It is not what you do in your lifetime that really matters, it is the legacy you leave behind for the next generation to follow which makes a difference”.’

Sarah Teather MP – Education Minister speaking at the Department of Education said ‘I was privileged enough to meet Naz Bokhari on a number of different occasion through his work for The Teaching Awards, where he was a senior Judge.   I was always incredibly impress by both by his focus on excellence and also his warmth and kindest.  His work was characterised by his focus on excellence and focus on staff development, the key features that makes such a difference on attainment.  He knew there was no contradiction between that focus on excellence and focusing also on the most disadvantaged students and making sure we narrow gaps for achievement for all.’

His daughter, Hina said: “The foundation aims to promote excellence in education and positive integration into British Society through supporting key initiatives and charities within these sectors. We aim to show through promoting the best in education and acting as ambassadors in the voluntary public service sector, we can make a positive change in society and leave a legacy to benefit generations to come.”

The launch announced the charities the foundation is supporting and details about the Naz Bokhari Award.  An annual award for students who achieve university acceptance despite adversity, who had to strive harder than others due to personal or social issues.  This award will recognize resilience and perseverance, qualities that Naz had and promoted.  Nominated by their peers and teachers at the College, the winner is chosen by the Principals each year.

Shabana Mahmood MP, the first female MP of Muslim faith, who attended the launch said- ‘it was inspirational and exciting launch with some extremely moving speeches.’

Rt Hon Chris Graylings – Minister of Department of Work and Pensions – who spoke at the launch said  – ‘It takes something quite special to be a pathfinder in your community, to be the first person to break down barriers, to rise to top in your chosen profession and to be an inspiration to othesr who come after you – that was what Naz Bokhari achieved in this life.’

Zac Goldsmith MP said – ‘he was a hugely inspiring figure, the Naz Legacy Foundation will advance the work that he devoted his life too.’

Jane Ellison MP said – ‘the Naz Bokhari award which are both wonderful initiatives with the capacity to change many young lives for the better, something Naz Bokhari himself clearly did in an extraordinary career of public service to our Borough and our country.  Since my election in 2010 I have been struck constantly by the importance for young people of having a great education and positive role models. In particular, in this ‘X factor’ age we live in, when too many people believe there are easy shortcuts to success in life, an award which recognizes resilience and perseverance is to be very warmly commended.  I look forward to working with the Naz Legacy Foundation in the future.’

Dr Caroline Lucas MP, Leader of Green Party said ‘Naz Bokhari played a pivotal role in a host of organisations dedicated to guiding, supporting and strengthening education in the UK.  So it was very fitting that the Naz Legacy Foundation, set up in his honour, will reward students who have secured  a place at university despite adversity.’

Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth Council said: ‘Naz Bokhari has left us an important legacy, one of the most important legacies one man can leave behind, which is how to effect the lives of future generations.   He dedicated his life to education in tooting and wider public service elsewhere.  It is impossible to see how many lives Naz’s example has touched and how many people he inspired.’

Matthew Taylor, Royal Society of Arts Chief Executive said: ‘He was clearly am amazing man and very much apart of the values which we champion at the RSA, he was great educational leader.  He was also dedicated to promoting the right values that are necessary for Britain to be thriving, diverse society in the twenty first century.  Just as we were honoured to have Naz Bokhari as a fellow, we are delighted to give our support to this new and important foundation.’

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