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Last Updated: Friday, 16 June 2006, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
Head knighted for helping school
Mark Grundy
Mark Grundy is honoured for services to education and ICT
A head teacher who helped turn around a struggling school - while managing his own college - has been made a knight.

The Queen's birthday honours list rewards Mark Grundy, 46, for his work at George Salter High School in West Bromwich, as well as his work in ICT.

Sir Mark, head of Shireland Language College, in Smethwick, said he was astonished and flattered by the news.

And the principal of Lewisham College, London, Ruth Silver, is made a dame for her services to further education.

Sir Mark, who has two children, said he had "no idea" he was likely to be honoured and said he was put forward by the Department for Education and Skills.

"I assume it's because I run two schools and we do some groundbreaking work for e-learning," he told the BBC News website.

GCSE results improve

In 2003, when Mr Grundy took up the post of executive head, just 15% of pupils at George Salter gained five A*-C grades as GCSE, compared with 56% in 2005.

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He admitted it had been hard work running two schools for the past three years.

But he said he was able to use the experience he had gained from the past 10 years as head teacher at Shireland Language College to help him in is role as executive head at George Salter.

He also said staff had benefited from his dual role as they were able to move between the two schools, gaining new career opportunities.

Mr Grundy has worked extensively with the Department for Education and Skills to develop personalised learning portals, where pupils log onto the internet and receive information, resources and assignments specifically tailored to their individual needs.

'Real honour'

Ms Silver from Lewisham College, said the recognition was "fabulous", but getting an outstanding report from the education watchdog Ofsted was "the real honour".

"I am unusually lost of words! It is thrilling news for me and the college and it will take some time to sink in," she said.

Ruth Silver [centre] with students
Ruth Silver [centre] is made a Dame

"I love this college and it feels strange to receive this tremendous honour when the real honour is in doing the job."

Lewisham College has about 16,000 students and more than 600 staff.

Ofsted has just released an inspection report for the college, praising its "outstanding" work.

Also honoured is the Children's Commissioner for England Professor Al Aynsley-Green, who receives a knighthood.

"I dedicate this knighthood to all children and young people, but particularly to those who suffer disadvantage, poverty, disability and even death through no fault of their own," he said.

"It is for children and young people like Victoria Climbie that my office and post were created."

The Queen's birthday honours list also sees Professor Roger Williams, chair of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, made a knight for services to higher education.

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