Page last updated at 00:01 GMT, Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Leading school improver knighted

Professor Sir Tim Brighouse
Professor Sir Tim has notched up more than 30 years' service in education

The man who pioneered one of England's most successful school improvement programmes has been made a knight in the New Year Honours list.

Professor Tim Brighouse set up the London Challenge programme, on which the government's controversial current national challenge programme is based.

A head teacher Paul Edwards was also knighted for his work turning a school around and with vulnerable youngsters.

Eleven head teachers are recommended for honours in all.

Alongside these, the second highest civil servant in the education department, Ralph Tabberer, has been made a Companions of the Order of the Bath.

Turn around

At one time, Professor Sir Tim may have been viewed as a controversial choice for a knighthood, declaring as he did in 2002 while heading up education in Birmingham, that the national curriculum was "Stalinist".

But his inspirational, yet conciliatory leadership style won him more friends than enemies, and he was soon appointed London schools "tsar" and then chief adviser for London schools.

Here, he set up the London Challenge school improvement programme which initially offered extra support to 70 disadvantaged schools and five low-performing boroughs.

It was initially expanded to include Birmingham and Manchester and then recently rolled out nationwide as part of the government's attempt to help improve schools that fail to meet the threshold of 30% of pupils getting five good GCSEs.

Professor Sir Tim retired from his London post in 2007 after more than 30 years' service to state education.

Another expert at turning troubled schools around is newly knighted Sir Paul Edwards, who presided over vast improvements at Knottingley High School in West Yorkshire.

FULL HONOURS LISTS

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Between 1995 and 2000, the school's results went from 6% getting five GCSEs grades A to E to 48% of pupils getting five GCSEs grades A to C.

He went on to establish and run the Garforth Schools Trust and Garforth Community College which works with vulnerable young people in Leeds.

He has also served on heads training body the National College of School Leadership.

Sir Paul said he was "shocked and very surprised" at the recognition.

"It's a great honour. It's also very satisfying. I've just tried to give what help support and advice I could over the years."

Career civil servant Mr Tabberer started his working life in education as a teacher in Hillingdon and has previously held senior positions in local government and at the National Foundation for Educational Research.

In 2000, he was appointed chief executive of the Teacher Training Agency and its successor the Training and Development Agency for Schools.

In 2006, he was given the position of the new Director General of Schools in the then Department for Education and Skills.

Janitor honoured

The list of education OBEs includes Robert Drew, head teacher of Gearies Infant School in Redbridge, east London, and Elizabeth Antrobus, the head teacher of Henry Cavendish Primary School in Lambeth, London.

Both were recognised for their services to education.

Elphin Jones, principal of Harper Adams University College in Shropshire, who has led the agricultural establishment to expansion and success, is also appointed an OBE, along with Keith Blackwell, principal of Esher Sixth Form College in Surrey.

There are MBEs for 11 school teachers and 12 school governors.

Included are Maureen Tyler-Moore, the principal of Foxes Academy in Minehead, a training hotel for students with a wide variety of learning difficulties, and Margaret Fish, honoured for her support to the community and her 36 years of dedicated service as a class teacher at Park Primary School in Alloa, Clackmannanshire in central Scotland.

Douglas Macneilage, the janitor at Tobermory High School on the Scottish island of Mull, receives an MBE for his contribution to the school and his community.



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