Arise, Sir Ian: Knighthood for MAT boss and DfE adviser Bauckham

EEF boss Professor Becky Francis, ex-national schools commissioner Dominic Herrington and MAT leader Rob Tarn also recognised

EEF boss Professor Becky Francis, ex-national schools commissioner Dominic Herrington and MAT leader Rob Tarn also recognised

Ian Bauckham, an academy trust boss who advises ministers and chairs Ofqual and the Oak National Academy, has been knighted in the new year’s honours list.

He is one of 64 people with links to the English school system recognised for their work in education.

Overall there were three knighthoods and damehoods, six CBEs, 20 OBEs, 22 MBEs and 12 BEMs for the sector, as well as one Companion of the Order of the Bath, a special honour for civil servants, handed to former national schools commissioner Dominic Herrington.

This year, 13 honours went to academy trust chief executives or executive leaders, while 11 went to school headteachers, eight to governors or trustees, six to school support staff or volunteers, four to teachers and three to academics.

Those working in the third sector but with links to schools scooped 12 gongs, and civil servants and council employees working on education received seven.

‘Pleasure to work alongside talented people’

Bauckham, who already holds a CBE, is known in the schools community for wearing multiple hats, and was nominated for his work across his various roles.

Bauckham with his CBE
Bauckham with his CBE

Aside from his day job as chief executive of the Tenax Schools Trust and fairly recent roles helping to lead the exams regulator and Oak, he has also chaired government advisory groups on teacher training, languages teaching and relationships, sex and health education.

Bauckham told Schools Week being notified of his knighthood came as “a surprise, first of all, followed by a great sense of honour and humility”.

He said “one of the great pleasures” in being involved in his various roles had been “to work alongside some really talented and brilliant people from whom I’ve learned a lot, and without whom it would have been impossible to achieve any of the things that collectively we’ve achieved”.

Chairing Ofqual has been ‘important’ work

Bauckham said chairing Ofqual, a role he took on in the aftermath of the exams crisis during the Covid pandemic, had been “an important piece of work”, and namechecked chief regulator Dr Jo Saxton, who had been a “a joy and a pleasure to work with”.

Asked where he finds the time for all his various roles, Bauckham said: “Well, you know, if you want something done, ask a busy person is the old adage”.

“I guess it’s just ruthless organisation and commitment. All these things are important and there are after all seven days in a week. So it’s that and as I say, also, it’s having brilliant people to work with who do so much of the thinking and delivery on many of these areas.”

Bauckham will celebrate the honour “quietly” with family and friends. “Nothing extravagant,” he added.

Nicola Dandridge, the former chief executive of the Office for Students, has been made a Dame, as has Sally Dicketts, the former CEO of college group Activate Learning, which had a spin-off academy trust.

EEF boss ‘very humbled’ by CBE

Professor Becky Francis, the head of the Education Endowment Foundation, has been made a CBE, along with Rob Tarn, the chief executive of the Northern Education Trust.

Francis said it was “very humbling to receive this recognition for service to education”.

“Leadership in this sector has been an honour, as I witness the collective dedication of those working in education to giving young people the best start in life. It’s a privilege to play a part in supporting this shared mission.”

Becky Francis
Prof Francis

She said her role at the EEF allowed her to “combine my passions for developing research excellence and evidence-led practice in support of improved outcomes for socially-disadvantaged pupils, and to lead an incredibly talented, mission-driven team.

“I count myself hugely lucky to have a job I love in a crucial and inspiring sector.”

Tarn said he “cannot describe how I felt when I received the letter notifying me of this prestigious award, which I accept with immense gratitude on behalf of our dedicated staff and the 15,000 children and young people the trust now serves”.

“Every day, I feel humbled to observe our students overcome significant personal challenges and barriers to learning in some of the most disadvantaged communities.

“They show enormous resilience and determination and I will never become complacent in supporting their development, focusing on their wellbeing whilst enabling them to succeed.”

Also awarded CBEs were Tessa Griffiths and Sarah Maclean, both former directors of Covid response measures at the Department for Education.

‘Education remains an equaliser for all’

The list also includes OBEs for Jeffery Quaye, national director of education and standards at Aspirations Academies Trust, Adam Boddison, the former chief executive of SEND charity nasen, and Richard Sheriff, the CEO of the Red Kite Learning Trust and a former president of ASCL.

exclusions review Timpson
Dr Jeffery Quaye

Quaye told Schools Week he was “deeply honoured and delighted” with the honour, which he said was “for all the brilliant pupils and staff” at Aspirations. He thanked his family “without which I wouldn’t be the person that I am today”.

“Education remains an equaliser for all and a means to shape a positive future for all children, irrespective of background.”

Also receiving the OBE is Daniel Abramson, head of the King’s Maths School in London and Mouhssin Ismail, former principal of Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre (NCS).

NCS made headlines several years ago when it was accused of “effectively excluding” pupils at the end of year 12 because they did not get high enough grades. The setting was forced to stop the practice after it joined the City of London Academies Trust.

OBE for lawyer who set up prominent sixth form

It has since been rated ‘outstanding’, and last year was in the top 20 schools for Oxbridge place offers.

Ismail, a former city lawyer who now works as a regional director and executive principal at Star Academies, said he was “grateful, privileged and honoured” to be awarded the OBE.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my wonderful colleagues who over the years have dedicated themselves to the social mobility cause and demonstrated commitment to serving our talented young people.”

Marie Hamer, head of strategy and impact at the Ambition Institute and Gill Jones, former deputy director of schools at Ofsted will receive the MBE.

You can read the full list of England school honours here.

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