Scottish exam results day: asylum seeker excels

Teenage asylum seeker in Glasgow achieves outstanding exam results despite living in fear of deportation

Tes Reporter


A teenage asylum seeker has excelled in his exams despite his fear of being deported to Pakistan.

Somer Umeed Bakhsh thanked his teachers after getting six As and a B in his National 5 exams at Springburn Academy in Glasgow.

The 15-year-old and his brother Areeb, 13, have lived in Glasgow with their parents, Maqsood and Parveen, since their family fled Pakistan in 2012, when their father was subjected to death threats as a result of his Christian faith. Blasphemy carries the death penalty in their home country.

The UK government has repeatedly rejected the family's plea for asylum, largely because officials do not believe that they would be at risk in Pakistan. More than 80,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Home Office not to deport the family, who are being supported by the Church of Scotland.

Somer, who wants to be an astrophysicist, said: "I'm extremely pleased by my exam results. I want to thank my primary school teachers who provided me with a strong foundation and my secondary school teachers who put in the hard work and taught me.

Family 'living under stress'

"I am also very thankful for my parents who, despite the stressful situation, always encouraged and supported me. Above all, I want to thank God, who helped me to stay focused on my studies in the midst of these tough times."

Springburn Academy headteacher Linda Hamilton said: "We are absolutely delighted. He has worked very, very hard and he deserves the excellent results that he has got."

Minister The Rev Linda Pollock said: "Somer is very happy with his results and his parents are very proud of what he has achieved, despite the stress and uncertainty the whole family are living under.

"He is an extremely bright boy and very conscientious in everything he does. This is a 15-year-old boy in the middle of a traumatic situation, and look at what he has achieved.”

She added: "I am very proud of him and these results are testament to his character. Just think of what this young man would be capable of in the future if he is allowed the chance to flourish in our country, which is his country.”

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