Nobel Peace prize winner Malala Yousafzai visited a Dewsbury school in her first ever visit to a British primary.
She unveiled a wall decoration featuring an inspirational quote before holding a question and answer session with pupils at Carlton Junior and Infant School.
And the inspirational visit came about by chance.
The school’s school headteacher, Rizwana Ahmed Mahmood, noticed a pupil had Malala’s autograph and it led to the visit by Malala, who was shot and left for dead by the Taliban and has since formed a foundation to improve girls access to education.
Rizwana said: “I was on my daily walk through the school and when in the year 2 classroom I saw one of the children had Malala’s autograph in his book. When I asked how he had managed to get it I was amazed to hear she was a family friend.”
Rizwan described the visit as “an inspiration and a sign of what is possible for our children” adding: “They can learn from her experience and be inspired to achieve.”
Malala shared her difficult journey, talked about the importance of education and high aspirations, with the headteacher adding: “This is hugely relevant to our school motto which was suggested by the children just four years ago of ‘dream, aspire and achieve’.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our children in Dewsbury to meet a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was once an ordinary school girl. Malala is a great role model for the children especially the girls and their mothers.”
The visit was also an important personal milestone for Rizwana too, as she explained: “As an Asian female leader, I too have faced challenges and can relate in a small way to Malala and share the same aspirations for children to aspire to achieve their goals.
“The school has gone from strength to strength. In the last couple of years we have been recognised for our excellent work through the White Ribbon Award, Diversity award, Eco Award and many more. This year I was proud to be personally awarded for excellence in leadership within education and my contribution to the community.
“We have also only just received the Engaging Families award and the Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development gold award. We are the first school in Kirklees to achieve these awards and academically, thanks to the hard working and dedicated staff, we anticipate positive end of year outcomes for our pupils.”