Page last updated at 23:50 GMT, Friday, 13 June 2008 00:50 UK

Phoenix head given a knighthood

William Atkinson
William Atkinson has been recognised for services to education

William Atkinson, a head teacher who turned around a struggling west London school, has been made a knight in the Queen's birthday honours.

The head teacher of Phoenix High School becomes a sir for "services to education and community relations".

About one in 10 of the recipients on the list are in education, including several head teachers.

Drummond Bone, vice chancellor of Liverpool University and former head of Universities UK, is also knighted.

And the principal of Trafford College, William Moorcroft, is knighted for his work in further education.

He has been commended for merging two institutions into a single college and has "transformed it through inspirational leadership to become the first further education college to be assessed outstanding".

Another education figure to be knighted is Philip Hunter, the chief schools adjudicator.

There is a damehood for Janet Finch, vice-chancellor of Keele University.

'Hope and Glory'

The award to William Atkinson is the latest in a series of high-profile head teachers receiving such a public recognition.

His award reflects that he has "galvanised the wider community, in the most challenging of circumstances, to become pro-active in the education of its children".

Born in Jamaica and coming to Britain at the age of seven, Sir William made his name when he took over as head teacher of Phoenix High, a tough secondary school in Hammersmith, west London.

His strong leadership, overcoming low results and bad behaviour, was reported to have been the inspiration for the head teacher character in the BBC's school drama, Hope and Glory.

Earlier this year, Ofsted inspectors praised Sir William's role in the school's continuing improvement.

"The school is exceptionally well led by a charismatic, indefatigable headteacher who receives excellent support and challenge from a fully committed governing body," said the inspectors.

Drummond Bone, receiving his knighthood for services for higher education, is stepping down this autumn as vice-chancellor of Liverpool University.

An expert on Byron and a former principal of Royal Holloway College, London, he was a prominent spokesman for the higher education sector through Universities UK.

School honours

There were other honours for a range of school, college and university leaders, governors and support staff.

A CBE goes to Bernard Borland, principal of St Francis Xavier Sixth Form College in Clapham and Anthony Cohen, vice chancellor of Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.

Christopher Dyer, Director of the Centre for English Local History at University of Leicester and Edmond Fivet, former principal of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama become CBEs.

Head teachers Philip Silvester of Westfield Technology College, Dorset; Derek Wise of Cramlington Community High School, Northumberland; Giles Bird, Kingsmead School, Enfield; Martin Tune of Bonner Primary School in Tower Hamlets, London, are also appointed CBEs.

Other heads honoured include John Dalby, St Philip's Church of England Primary School, Hulme; Susan Donovan, Holmewood Nursery School, Lambeth; Kevin Eveleigh, Barnby Road Primary and Nursery School, Nottinghamshire; Rachel Pinter, Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls' School, Hackney and Maire Symons, Bishop Challoner Catholic School, King's Heath, Birmingham.

Support staff

Marcelle Cook, head of Bedwas High School, Caerphilly and John Foulkes, deputy of St Margaret's Church of England High School, Liverpool become MBEs.

A former head of the City of London School for Girls, Yvonne Burne also is appointed CBE.

In higher education, Diane Willcocks of York St John University and Wendy Davies of University College London are to become CBEs.

School governors have also been recognised, including an MBE for Peter Clare of the New Rosary Catholic Primary School, Hounslow.

There were MBEs for a number of school and university support staff, including Bridget Harrington at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Primary School, Blackburn; Kulwant Kaur at the University of Birmingham; Joseph Lambton at St Vincent's School for Blind and Partially Sighted Children, Liverpool; Evelyn Lynn, Stokenham Area Primary School, Devon; Joan McLoughlin, Knowsley Borough Council; Lilian Ostle, Walesby Church of England Primary School, Newark and Sandra Park, Oxgangs primary school, Edinburgh.

Teachers who became MBEs, included Geoffrey Hinde of Wirral Grammar School for Boys and Rebecca Parker, head of physics at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Canterbury.

Knighted Sir wins top recognition
29 Dec 07 |  Education
Inner-city head given knighthood
31 Dec 03 |  Education
Head knighted for helping school
16 Jun 06 |  Education

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific