Chalk Talk: Prominent education figures feature in Queen's Birthday Honours list


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The Independent Online

Just to note that some of the most prominent figures in the education world over the past two decades are celebrating this week as a result of the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Take the newly ennobled Sir John Dunford, for instance. He was formerly the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, representing heads of secondary schools and sixth-form colleges. Now he is the Government's "pupil-premium" tsar, making sure the extra cash given to schools for taking in disadvantaged children is spent wisely.

Arise, too, Sir Anthony Seldon, the head of the top independent school Wellington College, who announced recently that he would be standing down from that role. He gets his honour not only for his services to education but for services to modern political history, for his assiduous authorship of books on Tony Blair and his latest opus on David Cameron. He has also been at the forefront of encouraging the independent sector to embrace the Government's academies programme, setting up a sister state school to Wellington College – the Wellington Academy – and taking up the reins himself at the academy when its GCSE results floundered.

A knighthood, too, for Mark Featherstone-Witty, the principal of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, co-founded with Sir Paul McCartney to train young people for the music industry.

The world of higher education is not forgotten, either. Professor David Greenaway, the vice-chancellor of the University of Nottingham since 2008, has also been knighted.

Their honours may have been overlooked in some quarters because of some of the more eye-catching names in the list. Congratulations to all four, though, and others on the list who have served the world of education.