Queen’s New Year honours 2020: Who got what in FE and skills?


A former specialist college principal has been made a dame while a well-known champion of adult education has been recognised with a CBE in the New Year’s honours list.

Nearly 20 other leading figures from the FE and skills sector, including three general FE college principals and a gold medallist from WorldSkills UK, have been awarded accolades by the Queen.

Dr Caroline Allen, who retired from Orchard Hill College this summer after 32 years, received a damehood for her services to education.

Caroline Allen

She guided the college, which trains students with learning difficulties, to an Ofsted grade one in 2013. She also headed up the Orchard Hill Academy Trust.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be receiving this honour,” Allen said.

“I have been privileged to work with very talented students with special needs and with highly skilled staff, senior leaders, board members and governors at Orchard Hill College & Academy Trust.

“It is a unique and remarkable organisation and I owe the achievement of this honour to the support and commitment of the people there.”

Dr Sue Pember was one of five people from the adult education community to be honoured, receiving a CBE.

The former director of FE at the Department for Education and now policy director of adult education network HOLEX said she feels “this honour is not just about me but also recognises the work the sector does with adults who may have missed out at school and adult education gives them a second chance.

“I hope that everybody who has supported me throughout my career feels some pride in the fact that I have received this honour because I would not be in this position without their help, support and continued enthusiasm, energy and passion for lifelong learning.”

Also picking up a CBE was Christine Hodgson, chair of the Careers and Enterprise Company.

Five FE and skills sector representatives were recognised with OBE’s, including principal of City College Norwich Corrienne Peasgood.

Sue Pember

She joined City College Norwich in 1997 as a lecturer in plumbing and became its leader in 2012.

“I feel hugely honoured to receive this award,” said Peasgood, who is also on the board of the Association of Colleges.

“It points to what can be achieved through collaboration, teamwork, and inclusiveness – and to the importance of removing our institutional hats, from time to time, and working out together what is right for students or for a particular sector.”

Another AoC board member and college boss to pick up an OBE was Graham Razey.

The now chief executive of the EKC Group has spent 25 years in the college sector. He has recently been appointed to the DfE’s Principals’ Reference Group, as well as becoming a National Leader for FE.

“From the very first lesson I delivered, I was hooked on how FE transforms lives,” Razey said.

“I am truly honoured to receive this OBE and hope in some way that it helps to raise the profile of technical and vocational education.

“I have been blessed with having a great network supporting me, but I would like in particular to thank my wife and son who have been my rocks, and with whom I look forward to celebrating this honour.”

Head of the National Careers Service, Louise Proctor, has also been honoured with an OBE.

She said she is “passionate about the power of careers advice and how it can change lives for the better” and added she is “inspired every day by the talented, hardworking people that I work with”.

Corrienne Peasgood

Among the FE and skills figures recognised this year with an MBE is Diana Batchelor, principal of Abingdon and Witney College, who has spent 36 years in the further and adult education sector.

She joined Abingdon College in 1992 as the head of community education and became principal in January 2016.

“I am quite amazed to have been recognised in this way and very grateful,” Batchelor said.

“I’ve always had the very good fortune to work with fantastic colleagues without whom I couldn’t have achieved anything at all.”

Two WorldSkills UK representatives ­– painting and decorating training manager Peter Walters and former beauty therapist gold medallist Kaiya Swain – received an MBE and British Empire Medal respectively.

Swain said she “couldn’t believe” the news when she heard about it.

“Taking part in WorldSkills competitions and winning gold in Abu Dhabi changed my life,” she added.

“It gave me the confidence to grow my own beauty business Kaiya Swain Beauty and I hope through my continued support for WorldSkills UK I can inspire more young women to follow their career goals.”

Who got what in FE and skills:


Dr Caroline Allen, principal and chief executive officer, Orchard Hill College and Academy Trust – for services to education


Christine Hodgson, chair, Capgemini UK and chair, The Careers and Enterprise Company – for services to education

Dr Susan Pember, director of policy and external relations, HOLEX – for services to adult education


Pauline Anderson, director of learning and skills, Derby City Council and chair of the trustees of the Traveller Movement – for services to children and young people in Education

Florence Davies, head of director general office and policy profession lead, Department for Education – for services to diversity and inclusion

Corrienne Peasgood, principal of City College, Norwich – for services to safeguarding and construction skills in Norfolk

Louise Proctor, head of National Careers Service – for services to education and careers

Graham Razey, chief executive of the EKC Group and memberof the principals’ reference group – for services to education


Diana Batchelor, principal of Abingdon and Witney College – for services to further and adult education

Elaine Billington, lately chair of the North West Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network – for services to apprenticeships and young people in North West England

Jenifer Burden – for services to education

John Butler, lately chair of governors at Furness College – for services to FE

Aziza Chaudry, quality manager for Adult Education Wolverhampton – for services to education

Francis Clayton, chair of the Yorkshire and the Humber Apprenticeship Ambassador Network – for services to apprenticeships

Lisa Dancer, adult education quality manager – for services to adult learners with mental health issues in the London Borough of Hillingdon

Carolyn Keen, chair of governors, Westminster Adult Education Service – for services to adult education and the community in London

Dominique Unsworth – for services to apprenticeships

Peter Walters, training manager at WorldSkills UK – for services to the WorldSkills competition

Yolande Stanley, former pâtisserie and confectionary training manager at WorldSkills – for service to young people in the hospitality industry

British Empire medal

Amanda Reeve, curriculum manager at Norfolk County Council Adult Learning – for services to education

Kaiya Swain – for services to the WorldSkills competition

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