Kenton deputy Jashu Vekaria celebrated by pupils and staff as she collects MBE award from Prince Charles
- Credit: Jonathan Goldberg
Children at a Kenton primary school dressed as kings and queens in a day of celebration for their deputy headteacher – as she was made an MBE by Prince Charles.
Jashu Vekaria took a day off from her role at Uxendon Manor Primary a week ago (Thu) to meet the Prince of Wales, who made her a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
Staff and pupils gave her a royal send-off by holding a “British values” week in her honour to celebrate her award, given for services in primary education.
The whole school was involved in dressing up as royalty, learning the national anthem, practising how to curtsy, making sandwiches and scones for an afternoon tea, and a week of British menus for the children’s lunches.
Jashu, who was awarded “Teacher of the Year” in 2016 for her outstanding work, designed a commemorative mug to mark the occasion, which was distributed to the children and staff at the school.
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“At first I thought it was a joke and didn’t take it seriously,” she said. “However, as time passed, I realised it was all too real – especially on December 28 when the New Year’s Honours list was published.
“I feel truly humbled and honoured to receive such a prestigious award. I wholeheartedly believe this award is for teachers everywhere.
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“Finally educators are being acknowledged for their hard work and commitment for the future generation. I thank my lucky stars to have found a job I adore.”
She has a merry crew of pupils who adore her back.
Hirah Shaikh, 11, said: “She truly deserves her MBE and will always be the all-time best teacher.”
Year 6 pupil Yusuf said she’s “given smiles to every child” adding: “Mrs Vekaria has been not only the best person I have met but the best teacher I have ever been taught by.”
Denisa said: “Mrs Vekaria has been an outstanding deputy head teacher. She has encouraged students at our school to never give up and try their best even though sometimes things might be very complicated.”
Jashu joined Uxendon Manor in 2010 as an advanced skills teacher. She won a gold award at the Pearson Teaching Awards in 2016. She also received a commendation at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards in 2018.
Staff said she possesses an “intuitive ability” to work with the most challenging children in the school.
With her own two children, she came into the school every day during the summer holidays and transformed a classroom into a library, stencilling the letters of a poem onto a wall to entice pupils in.
English leader Nasima Morshed, who masterminded the week, said her “child-centred approach” was “head and shoulders above the rest”.
“Jashu has been on numerous residential trips and has even slept in the shed as a child needed his mum on the trip,” she said. “This mum took Jashu’s room so that the child could go on the trip. So this MBE awarded to Jashu will be treasured; it reflects the essence of an educator who goes above the call of duty.”
Assistant head Shushila Bhander said she was an “exceptional talent”, adding: “‘She has the respect, loyalty and admiration of colleagues, parents and children throughout our own school and in other schools across the borough. The lengths she will go to help each and every child to succeed are extraordinary and need to be acknowledged and celebrated beyond the school. There is no one else more deserving of this award so we are delighted that others agree with us.”
Maths leader Geeta Wagjiani said: “Jashu is an inspiration to all of us. She has taught us that potential is not an endpoint, but a capacity to grow and learn. She believes this and shares these values. As a consequence, this is now our dream – to think big and pluck up the courage to pursue anything.”
Another colleague said: “Parents consistently comment on how she treats children individually and how she supports them to ‘do their best and be their best’.
“At the centre of every decision Jashu makes are the children themselves. She excels in what she does because she focuses on nurturing the whole child and addresses their emotional needs as well as their academic need.”
Headteacher Jon Parry echoed his staff, adding: “We feel Jashu thoroughly deserves this national recognition for all the excellent work she has done.
“We are all very proud of her.”