Outstanding leaders win royal recognition

20th June 2008 at 01:00
High-achieving headteachers rewarded in Queen's birthday honours
High-achieving headteachers rewarded in Queen's birthday honours

A head who is not technically qualified to teach in the British state system has been decorated in the Queen's birthday honours for her outstanding work in leading a Jewish state school.

Rachel Pinter, 61, of Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls' School in Hackney, east London, is also thought to be the first woman from the strict orthodox Jewish community to be appointed an OBE.

She was honoured this week along with 14 other heads, three deputies and a classroom teacher.

Mrs Pinter, a mother of seven, has led the school for 20 years, taking it from a private institution to a voluntary-aided one in 2005.

Her husband, and the school's principal, Rabbi Abraham Pinter, said she had trained in the United States before moving to London.

"She never even had a UK-recognised teaching qualification, so when the school went into the state sector, she was nervous about staying on," he said. "But Ofsted has described her as 'inspirational'."

Her school hit the headlines earlier this year after The TES revealed that nine of its pupils had refused to sit an exam on The Merchant of Venice in protest at what they saw as the Shakespeare play's anti-semitism.

Other heads to be honoured include William Atkinson, who was knighted for his work at Pheonix High in Hammersmith, west London. The Jamaican-born head rose to prominence in 1997 when the school became one of Labour's Fresh Start experiments. An Ofsted report last year described him as "charismatic and indefatigable".

Mr Atkinson criticised the Government this week for branding schools in challenging circumstances as failures, telling London's Evening Standard that ministers needed to "change the rhetoric".

Three heads were appointed CBE, including Derek Wise, head of Cramlington Community High in Northumberland since 1990 and a government adviser on personalised learning.

Giles Bird, retiring head of Kingsmead School in Enfield, north London, was among those appointed an OBE. When he joined in 1989, the school was threatened with closure because it was so unpopular with parents, but nearly 20 years later it is thriving. Mr Bird said: "I don't believe in quick turnarounds."

The longest-serving school staff member to be honoured appears to be lollipop lady Joan McLoughlin, who worked at St Aloysius Primary in Merseyside for 41 years.

Honours in education


William Atkinson, head, Phoenix High, Hammersmith, west London.


Phil Silvester, head, Westfield Technology College, Dorset; Martin Tune, head, Bonner Primary, Tower Hamlets, east London; Derek Wise, head, Cramlington Community High, Northumberland.


Giles Bird, head, Kingsmead School, Enfield, London; Dr Yvonne Burne, former head, City of London School for Girls; John Dalby, head, St Philip's CE Primary, Hulme, Manchester; Susan Donovan, head, Holmewood Nursery School, Lambeth, London; Kevin Eveleigh, Barnby Road Primary and Nursery, Newark, Nottinghamshire; Judy Moorhouse, chair, General Teaching Council for England; Rachel Pinter, head, Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls' School, Hackney, London; Maire Symons, head, Bishop Challoner Catholic School, Birmingham; Lindsey Wharmby, consultant, Association of School and College Leaders.


Barbara Beauchamp, governor, Wray Common Primary, Reigate, Surrey; Peter Clare, governor, The New Rosary Catholic Primary, Hounslow, London; Marcelle Cook, head, Bedwas High, Caerphilly; John Foulkes, deputy head, St Margaret's CE High, Liverpool; Frances Hinde, former deputy head, Swanley Technology College, Kent; Geoffrey Hinde, teacher, Wirral Grammar School for Boys; Linda Jerman, administration officer, The Butts Primary, Alton, Hampshire; Pamela Jervis, head, Brookfield High, Knowsley; Joseph Lambton, estates manager, St Vincent's School for Blind and Partially Sighted Children, Liverpool; Evelyn Lynn, former mealtime assistant, Stokenham Area Primary, Devon; Joan McLoughlin, school crossing warden, Knowsley; Mona McNee, literacy teacher, Merseyside; Doreen Neil, teaching assistant, Lukes Lane Community Primary, Tyne and Wear; Lilian Ostle, secretary, Walesby CE Primary, Nottinghamshire; Rebecca Parker, head of physics, Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Canterbury; Anne Pater, conductor-in-charge of music performance, Queen Katherine School, Kendal; Daphne Price, governor, Northgate High, Dereham, Norfolk; Rosemarie Ramsay, head, Mount Zion Supplementary School, Lewisham, London; Iris Roy, non-teaching assistant and former school crossing warden, St James CE Primary, Haslingden, Lancashire; Brian Samuels, regional field officer, National Association of Head Teachers; Dr Philip Smith, co-ordinator, Teacher Scientist Network; John Thompson, former deputy head, Derby Moor Community Sports College, Derby; Marian Walters, former school secretary, Kempsey Primary, Worcestershire.

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