Southsea pupil's pride at GCSE results after seeking refuge in England and almost being deported 3 years ago

BEAMING with pride as he opened his GCSE results, Ravdeep Singh Sethi had more to celebrate than most after almost being deported three years ago.

Friday, 21st August 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Friday, 21st August 2020, 12:26 pm

Collecting grades of one 7, one 6, five 5s and three 4s would have been impossible if the Priory School student had not been helped by teachers and his MP to stay in England.

Ravdeep and his family fled Afghanistan as refugees, spending 18 months in Holland before moving to this country to work and study - then six months into his time at the Southsea school, Ravdeep did not turn up.

With no phone call to say the teenager was ill, his tutor Ben Bourton began to worry and rightly so, because the school soon discovered he was separated from his parents and younger sister, and they were to be deported.

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Ravdeep Singh with MP Stephen Morgan and head of geography, Ben Bourton Picture: Habibur Rahman

Mr Bourton said: ‘We very quickly went to speak to everyone about the situation. We spoke to safeguarding and there was a limited amount they could do. I spoke to his solicitor and got in touch with Stephen Morgan’s office.’

At the 11th hour, with Ravdeep at the airport, Portsmouth South MP Mr Morgan managed to temporarily block the deportation so the school could do more investigating, and the teamwork meant they managed to keep Ravdeep and his family here.

Mr Bourton said: ‘It’s probably one of the proudest moments of my life - there was a young child and his family who for whatever reason fled their home country and deserved opportunities. We have given him an opportunity he may not have had.’

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Priory pupil, Ravdeep Singh who was almost deported three years ago until his school and Stephen Morgan intervened Picture: Habibur Rahman

Despite coming to this country with limited knowledge of English, Ravdeep has thrived and achieved results he is proud of.

The 16-year-old said: ‘I’m really happy with my results, I was excited and nervous as well. It’s been really good here, every single teacher I have met here has been really nice to me and I really had a great time here. I don’t want to leave but you have to move on.’

And the future looks even brighter for Ravdeep, as he is heading off to Portsmouth College to study law, maths and German with hopes of becoming an engineer one day.

Stephen Morgan, a former pupil of the school, said: ‘It’s an example of people working together and helping someone and his family and he’s gone on to achieve.

‘I think we have got a moral obligation to help people in desperate need of support. Me and my team worked with the school to address the immigration issue he and his family faced. I went into politics to change people’s lives in the city that I love.

‘At Priory and across the whole city we have got such fantastic people who work in our schools. It’s not just about teaching, it’s about welfare.’

Proud headteacher Stewart Vaughan added: ‘It’s a marvellous example of what we can do for people from other countries and what people from other countries can do for us.

‘Ravdeep has been a massively popular member of our community and in the current climate it’s an important thing to see.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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