* A teacher since 1971, Sir Alan (pictured right) has been headteacher of Seven Kings school in Ilford, Essex, for 20 years
* In 2000, he won a National Teaching Award as an outstanding head for London and the South-east
* An adviser to the DfES on special needs, he has also advised the Prime Minister's education delivery unit
* Already a beacon school and specialist school, Seven Kings became one of the first 100 leading edge secondaries
* Sir Alan was knighted last year
* A quarter of pupils at Seven Kings have free school meals, and two-thirds have English as an additional language
* The school's inspection report in 2002 said: "Pupils are mature and show far greater respect, tolerance and care for others than is often evident in society at large. Relationships amongst the different racial groups in the school are outstandingly friendly."