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Friday, 31 December, 1999, 01:18 GMT
Head wins honour for saving school

Ridings School Anna White has helped turn round the Ridings School


The head teacher of what was labelled "Britain's worst school" has been awarded a CBE for her services to education in the New Year's Honours.

Anna White has been rewarded for her part in turning round the Ridings School in Halifax, which became infamous as the "school from hell" in 1996, when it was closed temporarily because staff felt 60 pupils were unteachable.

Full list of education honours

Mrs White was appointed head teacher while the failing school was in the full glare of bad publicity.


Anna White Anna White: "Everyone has worked together"
Last year, after two years of monitoring while plans for improvement were implemented, the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) said the school had been transformed, and it was taken out of "special measures".

Inspectors found that pupils' behaviour and the standard of teaching had improved greatly. Whereas in 1996, unruly pupils had brought staff to the brink of industrial action, the Ofsted report noted that staff morale was high.

Peter Clark, a head teacher from the neighbouring Rastrick High School, Calderdale, who was appointed as a temporary head of the Ridings School in 1996 and who worked alongside Mrs White, received a CBE in 1998.

While Mr Clark was credited with stopping the school from descending into chaos in the midst of its discipline crisis, Mrs White has restored its long-term health.

Importance of education

She said she was "thrilled and overwhelmed" to receive the CBE, which she said she was accepting on behalf of all the teachers, governors and parents who had played their parts in making the school a success.

"I was very surprised. I thought this story had had its day when Peter got his honour. It's very nice that my work is to be recognised too.


Peter Lampl Peter Lampl founded the Sutton Trust in 1997
"It's been very much a story of everyone working together over the past three years to keep the momentum going."

Honours awarded to those from the world of education include five knighthoods and two DBEs.

This year's honours list continues the practice of recognising successful teachers, established by the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to mark the importance of education to his government.

Three of the knighthoods have been given to head teachers - Alan Davies, of Copland Community School and Technology Centre in Brent, west London, Bruce Liddington, of Northampton School for Boys, and Michael Wilshaw, of St Bonaventure's School in Newham, east London.

Professor Charles Hoare, Fellow of the Royal Society, has been awarded a knighthood for services to education and computer science, while Professor Martin Harris, CBE, Vice-chancellor of Manchester University, has received a knighthood for his services to higher education.

The DBEs go to Marlene Robottom, head of Mulberry School for Girls in Newham, east London, and Professor Patricia Morgan-Webb, chief executive of New College, Nottingham.

Recognition for award winners

Peter Lampl, millionaire philanthropist and chairman of the educational Sutton Trust, has been awarded an OBE for services to access to higher education.

The work of The Sutton Trust includes paying for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds to go to summer schools at universities.


Maureen Davies Maureen Davies has dedicated 35 years to teaching
And the BBC's former Director of Education, Jane Drabble, has been awarded an OBE for services to broadcasting and education.

Other teachers honoured include four winners of the 1999 Teaching Awards - the first year of the government-backed "teachers' Oscars", known as Platos.

Maureen Davies, of St Sebastian's Roman Catholic Junior and Middle School in Liverpool, who won the Lifetime Achievement Award, has been awarded a CBE.

OBEs go to Norma Machell, of Scarcroft Primary School, York, who won the Teacher of the Year in a Primary School Award, Romilda Scanelli, of Uplands Community College, Wadhurst, East Sussex, who won the Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School Award, and Bob Jennings, of St George's Community School in Bristol, who won the Camelot Award for Working with Parents and the Community in a Secondary School.

David Hart, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: "It's good to see education continuing to be recognised. It's a tangible recognition of the importance that the prime minister accords to education."

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See also:
30 Dec 99 |  UK
Knighthood for Branson
21 Oct 98 |  Education
Ridings School comes off failing list
12 Oct 99 |  Platos99
First awards of 'teachers' Oscars'
07 Sep 99 |  Platos99
Winning ways
14 Sep 99 |  Education
University to admit disadvantaged pupils
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