Urdu teacher Siddiqa Mubashar honoured at Tes Schools Awards

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ROCHDALE: A Muslim teacher Siddiqa Mubashar who fought for the rights of women and migrants has been recognised at the national Tes Schools Awards

Siddiqa Mubashar was posthumously awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award.

After studying a master’s in Urdu, at 26, she migrated from Pakistan to the UK, working first in community service supporting vulnerable Asian women, and becoming a member of the Rochdale Community Health Council and an executive member of the Council for Racial Equality.

According to an Asian Image report, in 1979, she found her calling in teaching and she taught secondary school students for over 40 years in Rochdale and the London boroughs of Newham and Havering. Former colleague Miriam Scharf recalls that, in the 1980s and 1990s, “those who taught non-European languages had to battle continually to get recognition…there were endless ‘micro- aggressions’ as well as outright discrimination”.

But Ms Mubashar always stood up for herself and her students. She worked tirelessly for the black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and students with English as an additional language. She also published three textbooks for Urdu teachers, which filled a gap in educational resources.

Sadly, Ms Mubashar recently passed away but her legacy lives on: seven of her children and grandchildren work in education. Nominating her for the award, her daughter, Bushra, said her mother “was a true hero…the epitome of an educator: she was a diligent teacher, a patient mentor, a fastidious examiner and a successful writer. Her contribution to education, over 40 years, is not simply significant, it is revolutionary.”

The Tes Schools Awards judges praised her courage and determination, and her work to ensure that children had the opportunity to study community languages.  Tes editor Ann Mroz said: “This is an exceptionally deserving winner: she fought against racism and prejudice, and empowered generations of students.”

Siddiqa Mubashar’s daughter Bushra said, “Alongside her relentless work championing Urdu and elevating its status as a Modern Foreign Language, she worked tirelessly for the BAME community, celebrating diversity and uniting cultures. Sadly, in July 2020, Siddiqa Mubashar passed away, following a long and difficult battle with cancer. As her family, we are incredibly proud that her achievements have been recognised and we are honoured that she has received the Tes Lifetime Achievement Award.”

Chief judge of the Tes Schools Awards and Editor of Tes magazine Ann Mroz said: “The Tes Schools Awards are the Oscars of education, recognising and celebrating everything that’s great about our schools and school staff.

“These awards are for the 2018-19 academic year. It’s evident from the entries how hard and how imaginatively school staff were working to give children a great education. Since then, of course, they have had a pandemic to contend with. But this has only served to underline their commitment to the children in their care.

“They have worked their socks off to make sure children are learning and are safe. So we congratulate all winners but we also salute each and every person working in our schools today.” 

The Tes Schools Awards were held virtually for the first time to comply with coronavirus regulations. In previous years the awards ceremony has been held at the Grosvenor Hotel, on London’s Park Lane.