Lesley Powell, our executive headteacher here at the Academy at Shotton Hall and CEO of the North East Learning Trust has been awarded the CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of her services to education.
Born and bred in Gateshead, Lesley has worked tirelessly to ensure the children in the north east have equal access to an outstanding education with her relentless drive for excellence and determination that every child has the best start in life.
With 29 years as a teacher under her belt, Lesley has seen it all, working her way up as a newly qualified chemistry teacher at Highfield School in Gateshead in 1988, before moving to work in schools in Manchester for fourteen years and returning to her native north east 12 years ago to take up a deputy head post at Shotton Hall. Her uncompromising ambition for educational excellence was soon rewarded with promotion to headteacher seven years ago and a further outstanding judgment from Ofsted for the school in 2013.
That would be enough for most people, but as anyone who works with Lesley knows, she is always looking for the next challenge! She has established Shotton Hall as a teaching school, and within it the outstanding school based teacher training provider, Shotton Hall SCITT. She also established the North East Learning Trust which now boasts 5 schools in its growing family. This year has also seen Shotton Hall named as one of just 11 prestigious research schools in England.
As a national leader of education, practising Ofsted inspector, member of the regional headteacher board and member of the national secondary headteachers reference group, Lesley is always on the go, working extraordinarily hard to improve education and the life chances of young people.
Speaking of her award, Lesley said:
“I am delighted to have been awarded CBE from Her Majesty the Queen. It means a huge amount to me and my family and I am privileged to to have been named amongst such worthy recipients. However, this award represents the work of many other people particularly the staff at Shotton Hall who work tirelessly to give the children of our community access to an education that can compete with the very best schools in the country. I’d also like to thank staff in other schools in our Trust and colleagues in education across the north east and nationally who have supported me throughout the years. I always wanted to be a teacher and I could never imagine doing anything else, to be rewarded in this way for doing something I love is such an honour.”
Chair of directors of the North East Learning Trust, Roy Simpson, speaks highly of Lesley:
“I am so proud that Lesley has been recognised for her hard work. We have been extremely lucky to have her here at Shotton Hall and we knew we were on to a winner with her from day one! Lesley always wanted to take the school that little bit further, and of course, that little bit further has turned out to be an enormous step. Congratulations Lesley.”
Amanda Moon, chair of governors at The Academy at Shotton Hall added:
“"Lesley always considers the welfare of the children at the school as a top priority and strives endlessly to improve the opportunities on offer. She continues to push the boundaries so that the children can achieve great things and help improve East Durham further.
This award reflects her determination to keep The Academy at Shotton Hall at the forefront of secondary education within the region and the country. Lesley is now able to use this determination and drive within a wider community as leader of The North East Learning Trust. On behalf of the parents and governors I congratulate Lesley on this well-earned recognition."
Congratulations Mrs Powell!
The CBE is an honour awarded to an individual by the Queen for a leading role at a regional level or a prominent but lesser role at a national level in any activity. The definition of CBE is Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.