Writer and broadcaster Sarfaz Manzoor was the special guest of honour at a school presentation evening.

Sarfaz whose book 'Greeting in Bury Park' was made into the the hit movie Blinded by the Light spoke to students at Pleckgate High School in Blackburn.

Sarfaz said, “My family came over from Pakistan in the early 60s and I grew up in Luton. I was a dreamer, I didn’t want to follow the path I was expected to and I was ambitious.

“I heard the music of Bruce Springsteen and it inspired me to do something different.

“My parents wanted me to go into medicine but I wanted something different. I wanted to live for the day, travel and meet interesting people and I did. I have travelled, made films and met famous people.

“Sometimes you have to be courageous to follow your passions and dream big.”

Awards were presented to pupils for their Outstanding GCSE results, in individual subjects for achievement and effort as well as special trophies.

The Headteacher’s Award was given to last year’s Deputy Head Boy Inaam Khan for his ‘steely motivation, working tirelessly and being a role model.’

“Pleckgate has given me a lot,” said Inaam. “I have had so much support from the teachers, my confidence has grown greatly, especially when I was made Deputy Head Boy, and it will always have a special place in my heart.”

The Chair of Governors’ Award was given to Ayesha Patel who achieved Grade 9s in biology, chemistry, maths and physics and Grade 8s in Religious Studies, English Language and Literature and an A* in Further Maths.

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The Commitment and Perseverance Awards went to Muhammadzayn Usman and Faeza Rehman, who made fantastic progress in their five years at Pleckgate,.

The Education Partnership Award for Positive Contribution to the Community was awarded to Head Boy Zain Ibbal who helped to raise £58,000 for East Lancs Hospice, where his grandfather was cared for.

“I loved my time at Pleckgate,” said Zain. “I formed friendships which will last forever, I enjoyed the trips and the lessons and I think our results showed the teachers were right to believe in us as a year group.”

During their five years at Pleckgate, the school was graded as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, it was hailed as a ‘Beacon of Success' by the Institute for Public Policy Research and they have continued to have a positive Progress 8, which means their pupils are progressing better than expected in eight key subjects.

“Our Class of 2019 have been role models, set the tone for the pupils coming through and set an excellent example," said headteacher Mark Cocker.

“We now have our largest group of intakes of Year Sevens, 270, demonstrating our reputation in the community is high and showing we are a school of choice for many.

“We had fantastic results last year, 66 per cent of our pupils achieved a Grade 9-4 in English and Maths. We are not just about results though, we encouraged pupils to get involved in extra curricular activities and community events where they thrived."