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New Year Honours

An award-winning headteacher whose passion for the Welsh language has transformed her school has been recognised in the New Year Honours list.

After winning a Teaching Award last summer, Bethan Guilfoyle (pictured), head of Treorchy Comprehensive in Rhondda Cynon Taff, has now been appointed a CBE for services to education.

Ms Guilfoyle, who has been head of the 1,500-pupil school for almost 14 years, said she was "surprised and delighted" with the honour, which she dedicated to the school and local community.

Although Treorchy is officially an English-medium school, a number of subjects are taught bilingually, and Welsh is often used informally to help foster pupils' language skills.

The focus on bilingualism, rated as "outstanding" by Estyn, has been so successful that many pupils have taken GCSE and A-level exams in Welsh as a second language two years early.

Ms Guilfoyle said: "There's a very positive Welsh language ethos here. I feel quite passionately about the fact that the majority of our pupils now have the language skills to prosper in a bilingual country."

A music teacher by training, Ms Guilfoyle started her career in Dundee and has taught at schools in London and across south Wales. She is also a member of the ministerial advisory group to the Assembly government's education department.

Peripatetic music teacher Gres Pritchard from Llanerchymedd, on Anglesey, was appointed an MBE for services to education.

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