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L-R: Venessa Willms, Professor Ron Ritchie and Roy Blatchford

Academy leaders receive New Year Honours

Heads, CEOs and founders of academies recognised for their services to education

Posted by Stephanie Broad | January 06, 2016 | People, policy, politics

The 2016 New Year Honours list has recognised 107 people for their service to education and children’s services, including a number of academy leaders.

The highest awards of Dame and Knight were given to Dame Susan Jowett, Chief Executive of The Spencer Academies Trust, and founder and CEO of REAch2, Sir Steve Lancashire. 

Sue Baldwin, director of the Academies and Maintained Schools Group at the Department for Education, was awarded CB for services to education.

CBEs were awarded to Rhona Barnfield, CEO of The Howard Partnership Trust and Roy Blatchford, Director of National Education Trust.

John Ayres, principal of the Eden Multi-Academy Trust, Venessa Willms, Director of Primary Education at Ark Schools and Professor Ron Ritchie, Chair of the Board at Cabot Learning Federation were just some of those awarded OBEs.

Venessa Willms, who led the primary stage of Ark's first all-through academy from its opening in 2007 through to 2013, develops and leads Ark's strategy to ensure that all primary pupils in the network achieve the outstanding education needed to help them achieve at secondary school and beyond.

Venessa said: 'I'm delighted to have been awarded an OBE in the New Year's Honours List. Over the past nine years at Ark, including seven as the Founding Principal at King Solomon Academy Primary, I have worked with talented teachers and senior leaders to provide every child with the tools they need to go to university or pursue a career of their choice.

'Their dedication to that mission continues to inspire and, together, we are working to set a high bar for educational outcomes.' 

Steve Taylor, CEO of the Cabot Learning Federation, said: 'I am delighted that Professor Ron Ritchie, the Chair of the CLF Board, has been honoured in this way for his work over many years. On behalf of everyone at the Cabot Learning Federation I would like to congratulate Ron; he has been fundamental to the success and growth of the CLF, both as Board member and over recent years as Chair. His work and commitment to promoting the best educational experiences for countless pupils and students across the age ranges and throughout the region has been tireless. This recognition is timely and richly deserved.' 

See the full list of honours in the education sector

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