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Wednesday, December 31, 1997 Published at 00:01 GMT


Teachers head honours class of '97
image: [ Headteacher Peter Clark receives a CBE for his work in turning round Ridings School in Halifax ]
Headteacher Peter Clark receives a CBE for his work in turning round Ridings School in Halifax

A teacher who helped Josie Russell learn to speak again after the 10-year-old was left severely injured in a hammer attack that killed her mother and sister has received an MBE for her dedication.

The honour - one of 58 awarded to teachers in the traditional New Year's list - comes three months after Lynda Roberts, 44, was named teacher of the year for her work at Goodnestone Primary School, near Canterbury, Kent, and for the work she did with Josie after the attack.

Head turned failed school's fortunes

Many more honours have been given to those who work with and train youngsters. And for the first time ever, there are two DBEs and one knighthood for outstanding achievements for teachers in state schools, reflecting the Prime Minister's commitment to education.

[ image: Life peerage for Government's chief education trouble-shooter, Sir Ron Dearing]
Life peerage for Government's chief education trouble-shooter, Sir Ron Dearing
One of four life peerages goes to Sir Ron Dearing, Chairman of the Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education, who has conducted reviews of the National Curriculum and of qualifications for 16- to 19-year-olds.

A knighthood goes to Leslie Hampton, headteacher at Northicote School, Wolverhampton.

Best were spread around

Within two years of being appointed, he turned the fortunes of the school after it failed an Ofsted inspection, a task requiring hard work over a prolonged period.

One of the DBEs goes to Mrs Patricia Collarbone, who became headteacher of Haggerston Secondary School for Girls, Hackney, east London in 1990. The citation says she moved into a school with weak standards and left it in 1996 with standards well above local averages.

The other DBE goes to Mrs Tamsyn Imison, head of Hampstead School, Camden, north London. Mrs Imison introduced initiatives to improve standards and ensured the best were spread to local schools.

There is a CBE for Peter Clark, headteacher of Rastrick High School, Calderdale. During his appointment as temporary head of the much-publicised Ridings School in Halifax in 1996, Mr Clark achieved improvements both in the behaviour of pupils and standards of achievement.

'I'm so proud'

Lynda Roberts, who sat by Josie's side as she lay unconscious in hospital, said she was stunned to receive the honour.

Mrs Roberts is in regular contact with Josie and her father Shaun, who have since moved back to their native Wales, but has not told them about the honour.

"I assume they do not know anything about it but I'm sure they will be very proud," she said.

Meanwhile, Mrs Roberts said Josie is continuing to make progress. "Josie is doing well. She has removed one of her psychological barriers by removing her hat. I am so proud she has had the courage to leave it off."

Click here for the New Year's honours list in full.


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