Teacher with a difference : Meet MBE awardee Jashu Vekaria

British Asia News Network

Keith Lobo and Sushma Lobo

The New Year’s Honours List 2019 recognises the contributions of those who work in the education and children’s service sectors including head teachers, governors, teachers, social workers, foster carers, school governors, and those who work in adoption and early years.

Amongst the recipients that appeared on the list was Jashu Vekaria Deputy Head Teacher, of Uxendon Manor Primary School, Kenton, London. She was awarded by the Queen the following promotion; the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (M.B.E) on the 29th December 2018.

Image credit British Asia News

Education Secretary, Damian Hinds said:

Congratulations to all who were recognised in the New Year’s Honours List for their tremendous contribution to education, children’s services, and improving social mobility.

Thank you to every teacher, head teacher, social worker, principal, children’s services director, and apprenticeship provider who dedicate their lives to helping young people reach their potential. Your incredible work has enhanced countless lives across the country.

Jonathan Slater, Department for Education Permanent Secretary, said:

I would like to congratulate everyone who has received an award in the New Year’s Honours List 2019, and particularly those who have been recognised for their achievements in education, children’s service, or increasing social mobility. This is a tribute to the outstanding contributions that have been made towards providing excellent care and education to children and young people, especially to the most vulnerable in society.

British Asia News met with Jashu Vekaria, the prestigious honourable MBE awardee and asked her about her career and ambitions whilst growing up. She told us “I’ve always known I wanted to be a teacher because from the age of eight I was playing teacher teacher”.

When asked do you find getting a MBE completely earth moving she giggled saying that’s a good way of putting it and replied from the heart saying “as soon as I opened the letter telling me that I’ve been recommended my hands were shaking”.

She went on to tell us “for all the teachers out there I feel I am representing that you can be recognised for a job in the public sector. When you work hard other people do and can recognise and it’s a real privilege”

Jashu’s career began 18 years ago in 2002 when she started teaching in the London Borough of Harrow and then moved to London Borough of Brent where she has been recognised and awarded for many achievements within her career. She says it’s her day to day job and she loves it.

Winning such an award means you must always stay up to date. Education wise how do you keep up to date?

Jashu believes education is like fashion that moves with the trends “always changing depending on who the government is and what the public opinion is” she said.

Personally she believes “it’s about understanding the needs of the children and their learning how it works, if you can get a child ready for the world, make them resilient, humble, respectful and helping out our environment, making them future ready, they will be our future leaders. It’s understanding that and making sure that you are doing the best by each child and what their needs are”.

She firmly believes in shaping the character, making them resilient to every obstacle and never giving up “this is what this MBE means, it means I didn’t give up I had so many challenges in my life and I didn’t give up and I hope other people can be inspired by that”.

To her the award means a great foundation for her to have and build on. “I would love to get this idea out there to look at the individual needs of a child, especially mental health if we can tackle that at a young age we can help young adolescents move forward with the right mind set. It’s about team work, working with the school, community and family”.

Jashu won the Pearson National teaching award in 2016 in May she won the Silver award and in October she won the gold award

Image credit Suryakant Jadva 

When you won the Pearson award two years ago how did you feel as you have told us there was a lot happening in the public eye which lead up to this MBE.

“I was in a very fortunate position that I got my award at school and it was pre-recorded. Brendon Cole walked in in the middle of a lesson and when he walked in I lost all thought, when he walked in I think I made a fool of myself practically but it was a honour to think of somebody who I see as a celebrity to come and take the time out and visit Uxendon Manor Primary School to give me a award, this was a very special moment and something that I will cherish and the ceremony was a few weeks later in October, that’s when it came out in the open and got celebrated with everyone”.

Image credit Suryakant Jadva 

Image credit Suryakant Jadva 

When asked whether she thought this was the height of your achievements, Jashu told British Asia News how she embraced every opportunity from it and then a year later she was so fortunate to have been a nominated as a finalist in the Asian Women of Achievement Award and now an MBE, she truly is an inspiration.

Image credit Suryakant Jadva 

Image credit Suryakant Jadva 

Every Saturday for the last 10 years Jashu works as a volunteer within the community at her local Mandir, The Kingsbury Swaminarayan Temple. She went there 10 years ago to put her son into Gujarati school and found that although all these children were going through a western British schooling system the Gujarati classes were very traditional rope learning style copying from text book. She took the initiative and decided she would change them. She successfully implemented a fun way of learning into the classes, a very western style of learning and has been now teaching there every Saturday from 9am-1pm.

She laughs when asked has it sunk in that you have an award that reads ‘Most Excellent award of the British Empire’ and she says “I don’t think it will ever sink in” and she continues to laugh and together we agree its earthmoving! It’s a monumental moment… “and hopefully I can inspire others” she said.

It was clear to see how her diligent work was being recognised within the community, UK and the education system, achieving from one milestone to the next, a true inspiration for the community, UK and women all over.


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