A former union leader and the head of one of the country’s most prestigious independent schools are among dozens of teachers and educationalists to receive top awards in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
John Dunford, former general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), has been knighted in recognition of his services to education, along with Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College, for his work in the fields of both education and modern political history.
Two other school leaders have been awarded knighthoods: Andrew Carter, head of South Farnham Community Junior School in Surrey, and Barry Day, chief executive of the Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust academy chain in Nottinghamshire.
Sir John, currently the government’s national pupil premium champion, said a “big share of the credit” should go to his “exceptional” former colleagues at ASCL, which he led from 1998 to 2010, and Durham Johnston School, where he spent 16 years as head.
“These people deserve a big share of the credit and I pay tribute to their skill and commitment to the cause of education,” he said. “I have also had the privilege of working with the best school leaders of my generation, whose efforts have led to the massive improvement in the quality and standard of state education in my lifetime.”
His successor at ASCL, Brian Lightman, spoke of his “delight” for Sir John, who he described as “an inspiration and driving force” in education.
Sir Anthony joined Wellington College in 2006, and last year also became executive principal at the Wellington Academy, which is sponsored by the college. He previously worked at Brighton College, but is also well known for his biographies of political figures such as John Major, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He plans to retire from Wellington College next year.
He said he was “humbled and deeply honoured” to have received a knighthood. “It makes me want to redouble my efforts to do good, especially in bringing about educational improvement for all children," he added.
Sir Barry made his name as head of Greenwood Dale School, transforming the poorly-performing school into one that today is over-subscribed and rated outstanding by Ofsted. The Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust now sponsors 24 academies, which collectively educate 16,000 pupils. He said he was “delighted” to receive the accolade, adding: “I have been fortunate to work with some of the most outstanding educationalists and the most talented support staff in the country.”
Sir Andrew has been a head since 1983, and has spent the last quarter of a century at South Farnham school. He is also chairing the government’s review of initial teacher education.
“The mantra for the school is ‘relentless pursuit of excellence’,” he said. “It’s very exciting to have been recognised in this way.”
A host of other people working in education received CBEs, OBEs and MBEs for their work. These include Kim Thorneywork , chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency, who has been made a CBE, along with Peter Mitchell, education adviser to the the Edge Foundation and the Baker Dearing Educational Trust. Fintan Donohue, chief executive of the Gazelle group of colleges, was made an OBE for services to further education.