When Naila Zaffar arrived in Bradford at the age of 12, she was immediately put into the bottom set at Fairfax secondary.
Her Pakistani heritage severely threatened her potential to succeed at school because, she says, teachers made assumptions about pupils because of their backgrounds.
But now, more than three decades later, the head can afford to look back at the injustices with a smile - she has, after all, just been made a Dame in the Queen's Birthday Honours. It is, without question, a triumph of hope against expectation.
Dame Naila was born in Kenya, but at the age of eight her parents moved back to their parents' home country of Pakistan in search of a better future for their children. "We spent four years in Lahore," said Dame Naila, who now runs two schools in Bradford, "but we didn't settle, so my father decided we should come to England.
"In the 1970s, if you were from Pakistan you were put in the bottom set. I did speak English, but didn't understand the accent.
"My mother came to the school and said `under what criteria did you put my children in the bottom set? I want you to give them a test'. So they gave us a test and the next day I was moved to the top set."
Dame Naila is one of five children who all gained degrees. When it came to Dame Naila's turn, her father had to stand up to criticism from the community for sending his daughter to a teacher training college away from home.
"He told them he had trust in me. I got married after my first year, and he made my father-in-law promise that I could continue my studies."
After college, Dame Naila had two daughters, and then got her first job at Newby first school, moving to Atlas first school a year later. She did postgraduate work at Bradford College teaching PGCE students, but missed contact with children and went to Feversham first as a deputy head before becoming head at Copthorne first, now Copthorne primary, in 1992.
Copthorne is an outstanding school, with inspectors praising its "strong team spirit where everyone's contribution is valued".
For the past year Dame Naila, who is also an Ofsted inspector and served on the ruling body of the General Teaching Council for England (GTC), has also been working as executive head at Lapage primary in the city. "Education Bradford asked if I could manage Lapage," she said. "I said yes because I was brought up in that area."
With inspections to do and two schools to oversee, as well as interviews with journalists following her award, Dame Naila has not had a lot of time on her hands. But she has managed to celebrate the honour with a meal at home with her family: her mother, husband, daughters - both of whom are teachers - and three grandchildren.
She said: "My dad gave up a good job in Kenya to work on the buses here, because his passion was for us to have an education. He died two years ago, but this honour is really for him."
QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY HONOURS: EDUCATION'S FINEST
Head, Copthorne primary, Bradford. For services to local and national education
Director-general, young people, Department for Education
Chief guide, Girlguiding UK. For services to young people
Deputy director, curriculum and pupil wellbeing, schools directorate, DfE
Chief executive, Salford Foundation Charity. For services to young people
Head, Fosse Way community special school, Bath. For services to special needs education
Lately chair, School Food Trust
Head, Quintin Kynaston community school, City of Westminster, London. For services to local and national education
Head, Hayes Park School, Hillingdon, London. For services to education
Head, Sandgate primary and Folkestone Academy, Kent. For services to education
FULL LIST OF EDUCATION OBEs amp; MBEs
|DBE||Naila||Zaffar||Headteacher, Copthorne Primary School, Bradford. For services to local and national education|
|CB||Lesley||Longstone||Director-General, Young People, Department for Education|
|CBE||Elizabeth||Burnley||Chief Guide, Girlguiding UK. For services to young people|
|Alan||Clarke||Deputy Director, Curriculum amp; Pupil Wellbeing, Schools Directorate, Department for Education|
|Peter||Collins||Chief Executive, Salford Foundation Charity. For services to young people|
|David||Gregory||Headteacher, Fosse Way Community Special School, Bath. For services to special needs education|
|Prudence||Leith||Lately Chair, School Food Trust|
|Jo||Shuter||Headteacher, Quintin Kynaston Community School, City of Westminster, London. For services to local and national education|
|Neil||Suggett||Headteacher, Hayes Park School, Hillingdon, London. For services to education|
|Helen||Tait||Headteacher, Sandgate Primary School and Folkstone Academy, Kent. For services to education in Kent|
|OBE||Vivien||Bailey||Lately Her Majesty's Inspector, Ofsted|
|Mark||Blundell||Chief Executive, Salmon Youth Centre, Bermondsey, London. For services to young people|
|Jennifer||Boothman||Lately Headteacher, Pennington CE Primary School, Pennington, Cumbria. For services to education|
|Kathryn||Broadhurst||Headteacher, Green Lane Infants School, Leicester. For services to education|
|Thomas||Canning||Headteacher, Tollgate Primary School, Newham, London. For services to local and national education|
|Laura||Coletti||Manager, Violet Melchett Sure Start Children's Centre, Kensington, London. For services to children and families|
|Angela||Darnell||Headteacher, Egglescliffe High School, Stockton-on-Tees. For services to education|
|Margaret||Eva||Headteacher, Bourne Community College, West Sussex. For services to education|
|Tracy||Jackson||Manager, The Crescent Children's Centre, Meir, Stoke on Trent. For services to children and families|
|Lynne||James||Manager, Hartcliffe Sure Start Children's Centre, Bristol. For services to children and families|
|Dilys||Jones||Lately Headteacher, Lypiatt Primary School and Early Years Centre, Wiltshire. For services to education|
|Jean||Jones||Headteacher, Grace Owen Nursery School, Sheffield. For services to Early Years Education|
|Sian||Rees-Jones||Headteacher, Bognor Regis Sure Start Children's Centre, West Sussex. For services to Early Years education|
|Roger||Legate||Principal and Head of Visual Impairment Service, Linden Lodge School, Wandsworth, London. For services to special needs education|
|Catherine||Myers||Executive Headteacher, Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate Schools, Tower Hamlets, London. For services to education|
|Angela||O'Connor||Headteacher, Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Hastings. For services to education|
|Honor||Rhodes||Director of Strategic Development, Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships|
|Inderjit||Sandhu||Headteacher, Launde Primary School, Leicestershire. For services to education|
|Angela||Sibson||Chief Executive, National Academy of Parenting Practitioners. For services to children and families|
|Christopher||Stevens||Lately Head of Inclusion Policy, British Educational and Communications Technology Agency. For services to special needs education|
|Elizabeth||Taylor||Public Health Manager, Southampton City Primary Care Trust. For services to children and families|
|Fiona||Wheeler||Team Leader, Early Years Parenting and Promoting Learning Team, Department for Education|
|MBE||Christopher||Barrows||Chair of Governors, Coombes Church of England Primary School, Wokingham, Berkshire. For voluntary service to education|
|Alan||Bernstein||For services to young people in Kent|
|Francis||Betteridge||For services to the voluntary sector in Sandwell, West Midlands|
|David||Braddock||Governor, Ferndown Upper School, Dorset. For voluntary service to education|
|Lorraine||Brett||Foster carer, Lancashire. For services to children and families|
|Ralph||Brett||Foster carer, Lancashire. For services to children and families|
|Donald||Charlton||For voluntary service to the Scouts in the North East|
|Pamela||Clarke||For services to the community in West Yorkshire|
|Terence||Clarke||Assistant Headteacher and Arts Coordinator, Langley School, Solihull. For services to education|
|Pauline||Cocker||Lately Chair of the Corporation, Birkenhead Sixth Form College, Wirral. For voluntary service to education|
|Simon||Cooke||Governor, Newport Free Grammar School, Essex|
|Mary||Crook||For services to young people in Cornwall|
|Shirley||Dyer||Caretaker, College Park Infant School, Portsmouth. For services to education|
|Marie||Erwood||Assistant Headteacher, Stewards School, Harlow, Essex. For services to education|
|Carol||Foster||ICT Teacher, Lakeside School, Chandlers Ford, Hampshire. For services to special needs education|
|Diana||Freeman||For services to education in Hertfordshire|
|Halina||Gammie||For services to study support and Playing for Success|
|Andrew||Gibson||For services to young people in Scotswood, Newcastle-upon-Tyne|
|Angela||Grandfield||Lately PE Teacher and Pastoral Manager, Shire Oak School, Walsall. For services to education|
|Christine||Gubbins||Foster Carer, Hampshire. For services to children and families|
|Catherine||Hegarty||Nursery Nurse, Knotty Ash Primary School, Liverpool. For services to special needs education|
|Judith||Ish-Horowicz||Headteacher, Synagogue Religion School, Wandsworth, London. For services to Early Years education|
|Marcia||Hutchinson||Director, Primary Colours Ltd, Huddersfield. For services to cultural diversity|
|Dawn||Jackson||For services to young people in Norwich|
|Suzanne||Kitching||Manager, Families First Service, Middlesbrough. For services to children and families|
|Christopher||Lee||For services to young people in Romford, Essex|
|David||Lewis||Chairman of Governors, Whitefield School, Barnet, London. For services to education|
|Patricia||Lewis||Youth Leader, Banstead Youth Centre, Surrey. For services to young people|
|David||Lister||For voluntary service to young people|
|Catherine||Marshall||Assistant Headteacher, Wyvern School, Ashford, Kent. For services to special needs education|
|Janet||Martin||For services to the Examinations Officer Association|
|David||Maurice||Chair of Governors, Kenmore Park First School amp; Kenmore Park Middle School, Harrow, London. For voluntary service to education|
|Mary||McCarthy||For voluntary service to Charlie's Angels' Youth Fundraising Group, Eton Wick, Berkshire|
|David||McGuigan||Manager, Longbenton Youth Project, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. For services to young people|
|Edwin||Menday||Governor, Longford Community School, Hounslow, London. For voluntary service to education|
|Eric||Milburn||For voluntary service to young people|
|Stephen||Mitchell||Assistant Headteacher, Shelthorpe Community Primary School, Loughborough. For services to education|
|Pamela||Noden||Foster carer, Bradford. For services to children and families|
|Robert||Noden||Foster carer, Bradford. For services to children and families|
|George||Ozenbrook||Accommodation Officer, Facilities Management, Department for Education|
|Brian||Peacock||Lately Headteacher, Sunnyhurst Primary Pupil Referral Unit, Blackburn with Darwen. For services to education|
|Benjamin||Perl||For services to Jewish education in London Borough of Barnet|
|Margaret||Postgate||For voluntary service to Girlguiding in Sedgefield, County Durham|
|Bridget||Redmond||Lately Caretaker, Mount St Mary's High School, Leeds. For voluntary service to education|
|Beryl||Riches||For services to Selwyn Primary School, the London Borough of Newham|
|Marjorie||Seal||For voluntary service to Girlguiding in Kent|
|Roy||Sinar||For services to young people in the West Midlands|
|Margaret Ann||Southren||Deputy Headteacher, Durham Trinity School, Durham. For services to special needs education|
|Michael||Stevens||Chair of Governors, Oakwood Park Grammar School, Maidstone, Kent. For voluntary service to education|
|Delia||Sykes||Mathematics Teacher, King Edward VI School, Morpeth, Northumberland. For services to education|
|David||Tait||For voluntary services to the NSPCC|
|Glenda||Taylor||Lately Governor, De Aston School, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire. For services to education|
|John||Tillett||Chair of Governors, Colchester Royal Grammar School, Essex. For voluntary service to education|
|Barbara||Westcott||For voluntary service to the Scouts in North East London|
|Brenda||Whitmore||Deputy Head, Hillfields Children's Centre, Coventry. For services to children and families|
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