Forest Gate teacher lends name to new gym building at Elmhurst School

A Forest Gate teacher received a shock at the end of the school day when he discovered that a brand new extension to the school gym had been named after him.

The staff and pupils at Elmhurst Primary School in Park Road gathered to celebrate the opening of the new sports hall building and thought there was no better way to welcome the hall than naming it after one of their favourite teachers.

Dalbir Saikaria, who is Year Six Co-ordinator in addition to his teaching duties, started working at the school in 1987.

Having a science degree and experience as an aeronautical engineer, Mr Saikaria saw the potential for the vacant spcae in the school grounds.

He suggested that extending the building’s dimensions, as it has been built now, would work so the new gym area was partly the idea of the talented teacher.

In homage to Mr Saikaria, they named the building “The Saikaria Wing”, leading him to what he thought was just an opening party at 3.30pm on Wednesday November 2.

But when Mr Saikaria arrived, staff, including his sister Mrs Kang who also teaches at the school and Headteacher Shahed Ahmed, surprised him with a cake that said “Grand Opening of the Saikaria Wing” on it in blue icing, and he was invited to conduct the ribbon cutting ceremony himself.

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Assistant headteacher Michelle Zylstra said: “He’s so good at what he does. He is a real role model for the children, they absolutely love him.”

The children also had a swashbuckling time as it happened to be Pirate Day at Elmhurst Primary School, a whole school literacy encouragement project as the classes have been reading Treasure Island, where the Headmaster was even kidnapped by Captain Redbeard.