New year’s honours 2022: Who got what in the schools community

56 people with links to England's schools have been recognised

56 people with links to England's schools have been recognised

An academy trust sector body chief, the government’s behaviour tsar and the boss of a teacher training charity are among those recognised in the 2022 new year’s honours list for services to education.

Confederation of School Trusts (CST) chief executive Leora Cruddas and Teach First boss Russell Hobby have received the CBE. ResearchED founder and Department for Education behaviour adviser Tom Bennett has received the OBE.

Founded in 2018 to replace the Freedom and Autonomy for Schools – National Association, the CST now represents almost 60 per cent of academies in England. As its leader, Cruddas advises the government on various issues and lobbies on behalf of the sector.

Leora Cruddas

The former director of policy at the ASCL school leaders’ union, said she was “enormously proud of everything my board, my team and I have achieved so far but it is truly humbling to be honoured in this way”.

“It is a privilege to serve in public life and to hold a position where I advocate on behalf of my wonderful members and all those working in education.”

But she said it was “those on the front line who deserve to be honoured”.


Hobby, who served as general secretary of the NAHT leadership union for seven years before joining Teach First in 2017, said he was “very grateful for this honour”.

“Throughout my career, I’ve been blessed to work in teams of amazing people, striving to make a difference for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. I am so lucky to have had that opportunity.”

Former children’s minister Robert Goodwill is to be knighted, but absent from the list entirely is ex-education secretary Gavin Williamson, who was tipped for a knighthood earlier this year.

Lord Frank Field, the former Labour MP who set up the Frank Field Education Trust, has been made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour, which recognises a long-standing contribution to government.

OBEs for behaviour tsar and academy troubleshooter

Tom Bennett

Seventeen people with links to England’s schools have received the OBE. They include Bennett and government academy troubleshooter Angela Barry.

Also recognised with an OBE is Vivienne Porritt, a co-founder of both WomenEd and DisabilityEd, who said this is an award for the “amazing WomenEd global community and for all women leaders in education who deserve the utmost recognition”.

Bennett said he was “deeply moved to be recognised in this way”.

“I’m grateful to the thousands of teachers who turn up every day and help children flourish in calm, safe spaces where they learn in dignity. My honour is shared with them.”

Barry, who has in recent years served as interim chief executive at failing trusts such as Lilac Sky, Bright Tribe and SchoolsCompany, said it was a “wonderful honour and I am extremely humbled to be recognised in this way”.


“But I feel even more honoured to have been able to make education my career so that I could help children and young people get the best start in life.”

A number of serving academy leaders have also received the OBE.

Gongs will go to Lorraine Clarke and Matthew Jones from ARK Schools, Shabir Fazal from Eden Boys’ Leadership Academy and Catherine Kitchen, the chief executive of the Skylark Partnership Academy Trust.

Amanda Nicholson, chief executive of King’s Academy Trust, also received the OBE, as did Raymond Friel, former chief executive of the Plymouth CAST trust and Donald Parker, the former boss of the Yorkshire Collaborative Academy Trust.

Gongs for former heads and support staff

A number of former senior leaders have recognised with an MBE. They include Michelle Blanchard, a former executive principal for the Dixons Academies Trust and Dr Helen Holman, the former head of the Orchard School in Bristol.

Support staff and volunteers have also been recognised with the British Empire Medal (BEM). They include Julia Barnes, a teaching assistant at St. Margaret Clitherow Catholic Primary School, Bracknell and Averil Gibbins, a former cleaner at Whitehouse Community Primary School, Ipswich.

Of the 56 people with links to England’s schools sector recognised this year, 15 are either serving or former chief executives or executive headteachers. Also recognised were six headteachers and other senior leaders and seven members of support staff.

The honours list has 10 governors or trustees, including Tracy Luke, the chair of Turner Free School in Folkestone, Kent. The school is part of the Turner Schools academy trust, which was set up by Dr Jo Saxton, who went on to become a DfE policy adviser and is now chief regulator of Ofqual.

Gongs also went to nine representatives of the charity and third sectors, while five recognised council officials and one went to a teacher.

Three went to civil servants or government advisers, including Dr Andre Imich, an adviser to the DfE on special educational needs and disabilities. Five people were recognised specifically for their services to children with SEND.

You can read the full list of those honoured for services to education related to schools here.

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  1. Frank Solarz

    Shows the lack of regard this Government has the Education Community. Not a single K or D just OBE, MBE, BEM etc. How many Nurses and Doctors got K’s orD’s apart from Whitty etc.

  2. Peter Endersby

    Gongs for SEN advisers to the government , that is a cheek the review has been delayed for over two years and we have no direction. What are they being rewarded for, what has been decided and where’s the policy?

  3. Robin Taverner

    Little or no reference that I could see to the achievement of staff in local authority maintained schools. Politicisation of the honours system devalues these awards for all.