‘Naughty’ Downend School pupil becomes Sir Sajid

A FORMER Downend School pupil who went on to become Britain’s Chancellor, Home Secretary and Health Secretary has been awarded a knighthood in the New Year Honours list.

Sir Sajid Javid has been knighted “for political and public service” during a 14-year career as MP for Bromsgrove, which has also seen him serve as Culture Secretary, Business Secretary and Communities Secretary, and run three times, unsuccessfully, for the Conservative Party leadership.

Sir Sajid told the Voice: “Receiving this knighthood is a tremendous honour. The opportunity to serve the public is an immense privilege.

“To do that, and receive this honour, would have felt almost impossible to the boy attending Downend School all those years ago.

“It has been made possible because of the dedication and talent of everyone I have worked with – and the support of my family.”

Sir Sajid, who is set to stand down as an MP at the next general election, attended Downend School from 1981 – when it was still Stockwell Hill Comprehensive School – until 1986.

He once admitted being “naughty,” and “more interested in watching Grange Hill than homework” during his school days.

He has also spoken of difficult times at the school, saying in 2018 that he had been a victim of racist bullying during his first year.

In an interview with Sky News during his 2019 leadership bid Sir Sajid, who was born in Rochdale but moved to Bristol as a child, said he had been advised to become a TV repairman during his time at school, adding: “I was told that I couldn’t study maths at O-level so I had to get my dad to pay for it.”

He said he left after his O-levels to study at the then Filton Technical College, now part of SGS, because he had been told he could only study two A-levels at Downend but needed three to go to university.

After studying economics and politics at Exeter University, Sir Sajid worked as an investment banker for 18 years before he was elected in 2010.

Political figures from Bristol and South Gloucestershire were also honoured.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees has been made an OBE for “services to local government”.

He said: “This would not have been possible without the support of my family, my team, and many other fellow Bristolians over a number of years. Together, we have delivered a lot.”

South Gloucestershire Charlton & Cribbs ward councillor Sanjay Shambhu, who is the chair of the BAME Conservatives organisation, has received the British Empire Medal for “political service”.