North East teacher given New Year's Honours award for service to education
A North East teacher has been awarded an MBE for his work in educating young people
Syed Ali, 50, from Sunderland, has been recognised for his work as a language teacher at Thornhill Academy, in Sunderland, helping inspire young people to make the most of their opportunities.
Meanwhile, he has also devoted time to acting as a translator at parents' evenings, providing advice on education to Bengali parents.
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Mr Ali, who has lived in Sunderland for 20 years, was left surprised and in disbelief by the honour.
Speaking on the award and his role in the community, he said: “I couldn’t believe it, even working hard, the MBE, I still can’t believe it. What a great award.
“The older generation, many still can’t speak properly in English. For the new generation, this is fine, they’re born and brought up here.
“We discuss about their children, their achievements and improvement, what areas they need to improve, and home issues as well.
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“Some parents contact me at 10pm at night for help, but I don’t mind so I will let them know.
“Anytime, they can ask me for help and I will always help them.”
Mr Ali has also regularly tutored children in the community when they were struggling, and even written his own textbooks to enhance the lessons.
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Durham University heaped praise on him earlier in the year for his success in teaching GCSE Bengali, and invited him and his pupils to take part in the 2022 North East Festival of Languages.
Additionally, Mr Ali has created additional weekend community language classes at a local centre, while working with a local mosque.
He said he often supports parents unfamiliar with the British education system, particularly helping first generation immigrants in adapting to a new culture and system.