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Friday, 16 June, 2000, 21:13 GMT 22:13 UK
Honours success for education
Judith Kilpatrick
Head teacher Judith Kilpatrick becomes a dame
There are three new knights and two new dames in education among the honours in the birthday list.

Schools, further education and universities are all covered by the top honours, but there are also numerous other awards for teachers and teaching assistants, other educationalists, caretakers - and a crossing patrol woman.

It reflects well on all my colleagues and that's the important thing

Judith Kilpatrick
George Sweeney, principal of Knowsley Community College, Liverpool, knows exactly how he will be celebrating his knighthood with friends and family on Saturday evening.

"Watching England thrash Germany. I'm very confident - I've got it all planned out," he said.

Celebrating success is something he says they are keen on in Knowsley, a beacon college in the "challenging" borough on the east side of Liverpool where he was born and grew up.

"It's a working class borough which is a good example of what the present government is trying to do about raising educational standards," he said.

'Recognition for others'

"We are not frightened of trying new things. They don't always succeed, but that's in the nature of trying things and there's no blame if something doesn't succeed as long as we all try, and we all try our hardest."

George Sweeney
George Sweeney: "We try our hardest"
Sir George, 54, is also a member of the Further Education Funding Council for England and of a number of other organisations working in the sector, such as the New Deal Task Force and Merseyside TEC.

"This is a wonderful honour ... but it's actually a recognition of what others have done so I think it will be a terrific boost to people in the college who'll say, people are looking at what we are doing in Knowsley and saying 'They're doing a good job, those people'."

Judith Kilpatrick, head of City of Portsmouth Girls' School, made a dame in the honours, was not celebrating on Friday night - she was attending the installation of a new minister at the church opposite the school and thought it better to remain sober.

She will be making up for it with friends on Saturday.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to bits," she said.


"It reflects well on all my colleagues and that's the important thing. You don't get these sat in your office, you get them working with colleagues and that's what it reflects to me.

"Schools are about partnerships. It's about trusting your staff. Setting the parameters against which we're going to work, but then trusting people to do that - monitoring, supporting, and generally working with colleagues not above colleagues."

Portsmouth Girls is an 11-16 inner-city comprehensive with the best state sector GCSE results in the area, and a beacon school - held up as an example to others.

Dame Judith, 48, has been in teaching since she left university 26 years ago and is "loving it now more than ever".

Geraldine Keegan
Geraldine Keegan: Becomes a dame
The other dame is also a head teacher. Geraldine Keegan leads St Mary's College girls' school in the Creggan area of Londonderry, one of Northern Ireland's most successful schools.

The school is in a strongly republican area but is noted for establishing cross-community links.

It was the first school in the UK to receive three charter marks for excellence, the government's public service "gold medal".

Miss Keegan already had an OBE.

Howard Newby
Howard Newby: Higher education champion
One of the other knighthoods goes to Howard Newby, president of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals of the UK universities (CVCP) and vice-chancellor of Southampton University, now an internationally significant research centre.

The CVCP's chief executive, Diana Warwick, said: "We are all delighted that Howard's contribution to higher education has been recognised.

Adrian Webb
Adrian Webb: Widening participation
"It is richly deserved as he has played a major role in leading the sector at a time of great change."

The other knight is Adrian Webb, vice-chancellor of the University of Glamorgan.

Glamorgan is one of the newer universities and he is credited with having nearly doubled student numbers there.

Royal gift

The joint head teachers of the prep school attended by Prince William and Prince Harry, each become an LVO - Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order.

Gerald Barber and Charles Marston saw the princes through their primary education at Ludgrove School, Berkshire, and into Eton.

The LVO is an honour in the Queen's personal gift. A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman could not comment on whether the timing was significant in view of Prince William's 18th birthday next week.

A number of head teachers become Commanders of the Order of the British Empire: Kathleen Gibbons of St Kentigern's Academy, Bathgate, Janet Warwick at Rhyn Park School, St Martins, Oswestry, and Yvonne Jeffries, former head of Haywood High School, Stoke on Trent.

There are CBEs also for Alan Birks, principal of South Birmingham and Bilston Community College and Professor Leslie Wagner, vice-chancellor of Leeds Metropolitan University.

Others go to Wigan's director of education, Robert Clark, the former head of the Teacher Training Agency, Anthea Millett, and the director of the national literacy strategy, John Stannard.

Numerous honours

In all, education accounts for some 10% of the birthday list.

Among more than 70 other awards is an MBE for a Warwickshire "lollipop lady".

Diane Wright became a school crossing patrol warden when her son was a pupil at Great Alne junior and infants school, near Alcester - and 23 years later, now aged 67, she is still doing the job.

She said she was "delighted" at the award - made in recognition of her contribution to road safety.

Mrs Wright, who is now looking forward to the trip to Buckingham Palace to collect her MBE, said she loved her job.

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