Groundbreaking educators named in New Year Honours

7th January 2011 at 00:00

Inspirational figures from across Scottish education were recognised in the New Year Honours list. It was a year in which, across the UK, one in 10 of those honoured had an educational background.

Those honoured with a CBE included Sheila Taylor, headteacher at Glasgow's Annette Street Primary, rewarded for her work with children from diverse backgrounds. Around half the children at the Govanhill school are Roma, and more than 10 languages are spoken by pupils.

Other CBEs include John Wallace, principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and Dennis Gunning, who was recognised for work in higher education and lifelong learning in Wales but is a former director of the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

The headteacher of the school with the best exams record in the state sector was made an OBE. John Fitzpatrick, of Williamwood High in East Renfrewshire, saw 46 per cent of pupils achieve five or more Highers this year, but said he had been "very lucky" to work with very talented people throughout his career.

Other OBEs include: Myra Pearson, head of Aberdeen University's school of education; Elaine Davidson, headteacher of Tanshall Primary in Glenrothes, Fife; and former SQA board member and Educational Institute of Scotland president Margaret Nicol, for services to education in Fife.

Margaret Mullen, a school crossing warden at Dysart Primary, Fife, was made an MBE, as was Mary McGuiness, an instructor at Clippens School in Linwood, Renfrewshire, for services to special needs education.

Other MBEs are: Brian Gardner, North Ayrshire Council's head of education resources; HMIE assistant chief inspector Alistair Marquis; Moira McKirdy, for work in science education at the Community School of Auchterarder, Perthshire; Elizabeth Barron, curriculum manager for science and sport at Inverness College, for services to science engagement; and Edinburgh University international student advisor Ann McKay.

A damehood went to Aberdeen South MP Anne Begg, elected in the 1997 Labour landslide and the first member of the House of Commons to use a wheelchair full-time. She was recognised for services to disabled people and bringing equal opportunities issues to the fore, but some may remember her as a history and English teacher at Webster's High in Kirriemuir and Arbroath Academy.

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