Ashid Ali, Headteacher of the London Enterprise Academy, Tower Hamlets, has been honoured during one of the oldest surviving traditional ceremonies still in existence today, one believed to have been first presented in 1237.
Ali has been recognised for his services to education in London.
Apart from setting up a school in Tower Hamlets he has trained and mentored dozens of teachers and senior leaders.
Ali’s dedication and hard work has propelled many students achieving excellent educational results and going onto university.
The school is a hub for the community and has continuously engaged with pupils during school holidays, providing education, recreation and nourishment in one of the most deprived areas in England.
He has introduced projects which are led by pupils and include regular fundraising for important causes, collecting items for a local foodbank and a weekly community litter pick.
The 2021 Census results revealed that Tower Hamlets has experienced the biggest population growth in the UK; it is also the local authority with the highest level of child poverty, 25 percentage points above the national rate.
In the East London borough, 56% of children live in poverty.
Devoted Ali has continuously provided extra classes in the morning and also after school, as well as ensuring pupils are nourished and taking part regularly in recreational activities.
“It’s helped us engage with our pupils, many of whom have a tough life at home,” he said.
“We pass no judgement as a point of principle, yet do what is humanly possible to ensure our pupils don’t miss out on life changing opportunities.
“We achieve this through empowerment.
“This is a great honour for me and I’d like to dedicate this to my family, friends, my passionate staff for the great efforts that your efforts bring.”
The Freedom of the City remains a unique part of London’s history to which many people who have lived or worked in the City have been proud to be admitted.
Following a full inspection in July, the school has been found to have improved, with Behaviour and Safety as Good and Personal Development as Good.
In the recently published report, Ofsted inspectors say: “Respect for all sums up London Enterprise Academy nicely. Pupils have pride in themselves and their school. They are polite, courteous and welcoming. They, too, are welcomed into school, regardless of their background or previous experiences.” – Ofsted, July 2022