Knighthood for academy chain chief Jon Coles

Teachers and educationalists recognised in Queen's birthday honours list

Mark Smulian

Buckingham Palace

United Learning's chief executive Jon Coles has been knighted in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Barnaby Lenon, chair of the Independent Schools Council and former headteacher of Harrow School, was also recognised with an honour, as was Andrew John McCully, a senior Department for Education civil servant.

Mr Coles’ term of office has seen United Learning grow from 18 academies and 10 independent schools in 2012 to 60 and 13 respectively now.

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The citation for his knighthood said 87 per cent of the academies inspected were good or outstanding, compared to only 11 per cent of the predecessor schools, while the group’s primary schools had improved at more than twice the national average in national assessments.

Before joining United Learning, Mr Coles was a civil servant, involved in the reduction of infant class sizes, setting up the London Challenge and reform of 14-19 years education.

He co-founded and chairs Challenge Partners, and is a trustee of the Prince’s Teaching Institute.

There were honours for 10 heads and classroom teachers in the list and for others associated with education. The list included:

Companion of the Order of the Bath

Graham Archer, director improvement and learning, children's social care, Department for Education

Andrew John McCully, director general, early years and schools group, Department for Education


Barnaby Lenon, chair, Independent Schools Council and chair of governors, London Academy of Excellence 

Rebecca Meredith, CEO, Transform Trust

Professor Anna Frances Vignoles, professor of education, University of Cambridge 


Jennifer Blunden, CEO, Truro and Penwith Academy Trust

Amarjit Kaur Cheema, CEO, Perry Hall Multi-Academy Trust

Sajid Gulzar, CEO, Prince Albert Community Trust

Catherine Mary Therese Hughes, formerly principal St Bede's Catholic College, Bristol

Jane Carol Lees, formerly chair Sex Education Forum Advisory Group

Richard Anthony Ludlow, CEO, Ebor Academy Trust, York

Jeannette MacKinney, CEO, Hales Valley Trust, Stourbridge

Professor Lee Elliot Major, formerly CEO, Sutton Trust and trustee, Education Endowment Foundation

Linda Dawn Rose, Department for Education

Anne McEwan, former president, National Association of British Schools in Spain

Ann McDonald, principal, Kellett School, the British international school in Hong Kong

Christine Wain, headteacher, Pallister Park Primary School, Middlesbrough


Janis Burdin, headteacher, Moss Side Community Primary School, Leyland, Lancashire

Spyros Petros Elia, chair of governors Brindishe Federation, Lewisham

Jaspaul Hill, headteacher, Mayfield Primary School, Cambridgeshire

Frances Lysyj, formerly Headteacher St Thomas of Canterbury RC Bolton Primary

Frank William Norris, Director Co-operative Academies Trust

Donald Jones, founder, Cambridge College, Lima, Peru and founding member of the Association of British Schools in Latin America

Marshall Kilgore, principal, Drumachose Primary School. Northern Ireland

David Lee, founder, Wilds Lodge School, Oakham

Georgios Meliniotis, physics teacher, the Meridian School, Royston

Christine Pickersgill, teacher, Colyton Grammar School

Katherine Ryan, headteacher, Matthew Arnold School, Oxfordshire

Margaret Scott, former headteacher, Forest Lodge Primary School, Leicestershire

Ian Seaton, former chair of governors, City of London School

Matthew Smith, business manager, Sheringham Woodfields School and founder and trustee, North Walsham Play

Narendra Solanki, chair, Multi Academy Trust, St Simon and St Judes Primary School, Bolton

Jacqueline Stewart, former principal, Downshire High School, Larne

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Mark Smulian

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