Teachers and education leaders all over the country have been recognised for their work during the coronavirus pandemic in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
98 people have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to the education and children’s services sectors. The list includes headteachers, teachers, social workers, foster carers and many who work with the most disadvantaged in society as well as those selected for their efforts during the pandemic.
To name a few, Matthew Hood and David Thomas, Principal and Curriculum Director at the Oak National Academy in London have been given OBE’s for their services to education during the pandemic. When it was announced that all schools would be closed, except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers, Matthew and David were at the forefront of innovative and fast-paced work to develop resources to make remote education the best it can be for both pupils and teachers.
Similarly, Jane Davenport, headteacher at Reynalds Cross School has received an MBE for her services to young people with special educational needs and disabilities during the crisis. As headteacher at the school, Jane, with the help of her committed staff, made sure that she supported not only keyworkers’ children but also enabled those pupils and families who are most vulnerable to attend school during the coronavirus pandemic.
Many of these children have very complex learning, physical, behavioural, and medical needs which makes keeping them safe increasingly harder in the current crisis.
A number of non-coronavirus related nominees also feature on this year’s honours list.
Yvonne Conolly, the first black headteacher in the UK has been awarded a CBE for her services to education. At 23 years old, Yvonne arrived in the UK from Jamaica in 1963 as a qualified teacher, having taught at a boarding school in Jamaica.
Yvonne faced many challenges in finding a job at that time and with the help of a friend she started as a supply teacher in Camden where she lived, and her first temporary assignment at George Eliot School became permanent. Her first step into teaching became a giant leap when in 1969 she became the first female black headteacher in the UK.
Katharine Birbalsingh, founder and head of Michaela Community School in Brent, a free school which has been described as Britain’s strictest school, also received a CBE.
Ms Birbalsingh said the honour was a tribute to her staff and their traditional style of teaching.
“I’m proud of the impact that we’ve had on the educational sphere from the ground, from the position of teachers, ordinary teachers and ordinary children doing an excellent job day in, day out and questioning the status quo in education.”