King’s Birthday Honours: Who received what in FE & skills?

More than a dozen leaders named in the honours list, including one CBE, three OBEs, seven MBEs and three BEMs

More than a dozen leaders named in the honours list, including one CBE, three OBEs, seven MBEs and three BEMs

16 Jun 2023, 22:30

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A longstanding college governor, college cleaning supervisor and a PE teacher are among sector figures named in the King’s first birthday honours list for services to further education and skills.

More than a dozen leaders from the FE and skills sector were named in the honours list, including one CBE, three OBEs, seven MBEs and three BEMs.

Mark White, who recently retired from the Education Training Collective’s governing board after 27 years, took the CBE.

His first role in further education was as a governor at Billingham’s Bede Sixth Form College back in 1995, and he has also served as chair of the Stockton Strategic Education Board. Over the years White has also chaired numerous AoC boards, including AoC sport and the AoC’s governors council.

Mark White

“I am thrilled and humbled by this award. I have worked with wonderful, dedicated people and, to me, this award recognises and celebrates the value and importance of our essential further education sector,” he said. White previously was given an OBE in 2016.

An OBE goes to Clare Howard, the chief executive of NATSPEC, the representative body for specialist colleges, for services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities.

Clare Howard

Howard said she was “speechless and a bit stunned about receiving the honour”.

“The only way I can understand it is to see it as recognition for all those thousands of dedicated people who work in specialist colleges or with students with SEND across the FE sector,” she added.

“This also wouldn’t have happened without all the people at work and home that have supported me; the credit and my thanks go to my colleagues in the Natspec team, my board, students and staff of every college, and my family.”

Two college leaders scooped OBEs for services to further education.

Pat Brennan-Barratt, chief executive and principal of Northampton College, said the OBE has “humbled me beyond words”.

Pat Brennan Barrett

“Working in education has been a great privilege,” she added.

“Over time I have worked with the most extraordinary colleagues, whose talent and enthusiasm has been inspirational.

“In FE everybody plays a part. It’s not one individual who makes a difference but the part you play in a team. I am constantly amazed by the rock-solid professionals who work in colleges. Those who go the extra mile.”

White is joined on the honours list by his former colleague Philip Cook, who left his post as CEO of the Education Training Collective last August, and who has been made an OBE.

“I feel very proud but also lucky,” Cook said. “My family have been incredibly supportive throughout my career, and I have been fortunate to have worked with many talented and kind colleagues over the years.”

Multiple skills sector figures also picked up MBEs, including Gillian Eaton, the director at Sporting Futures Training in Stevenage, who said she was “immensely proud” to receive the MBE.

“The value of apprenticeships is immense and whilst we face challenges, we must strive to ensure that apprenticeships continue to fulfil the purpose for which they were developed,” she added.

Lloyd Thomas, future workforce skills & capability lead at Co-operative Group, also received an MBE which he said was a “reflection of not only my work but the support from hundreds of colleagues I’ve worked with across the years”.

“Apprenticeships and vocational qualifications are integral to ensuring our communities thrive and are opening doors every day for people from underrepresented groups who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to fulfil their potential.”

British Empire Medals (BEMs) meanwhile were awarded to three individuals including Pauline Franklin, cleaning supervisor at St Brendan’s Sixth Form College in Bristol.

“I’m just absolutely blown away, I don’t think it can get any better,” she said.

“It’s been 35 or 36 years that I have worked here, it’s a very very nice place to work. Being given this award, I can’t thank Marian [Curran, the college principal] enough for putting me forward – what an honour.”

Andrew Green, a physical education teacher at New College Pontefract in West Yorkshire, said he was “amazed” to get a BEM.

“This will be dedicated to my fantastic colleagues, parent volunteers and wonderful family, who have supported me over the years,” he added. “It has been a privilege to work with thousands of youngsters in schools, colleges and the local community. Providing opportunities for children and young people to develop their skills and achieve their potential has always been a great pleasure and honour in itself.”

The full list of FE and skills honours (click to enlarge):

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  1. Penny Taylor you are a superstar who for so many years has richly served the community you live in with your warmth and generosity. We are all super proud of such an extraordinary acheivement and will celebrate in spirit with you all weekend