From education to employment

Derby woman Sarah Armitage awarded MBE in King’s New Year’s Honours List

A Derby woman who has spent more than 20 years volunteering in local schools has been awarded an MBE in the King’s New Year’s Honours List for her services to education.

Sarah Armitage was chair of governors at Richardson Endowed Primary School in Smalley, Derbyshire – the school attended by her children – for eight years. Now chair of the Embark Federation trust board, she has played a key role in helping the multi-academy trust to grow since its inception in 2019; it now serves 23 schools including Sixth Forms, and more than 8,000 pupils across Derbyshire.

Sarah, who has worked with the University of Derby, Tarmac and Vinci Energies with her leadership business Work Vitality, said:

“It is an honour and a surprise to be awarded an MBE in the King’s New Year’s Honours List.

“I am passionate about fulfilling the potential of young people across Derbyshire, and it is nice to have been recognised in this way for doing something that I feel so strongly about, and also love doing.”

“Governance within Embark is also very much a team effort, I’m hugely fortunate to be part of committed community of trustees and governors who give so much to our schools.”

Sarah’s innovative vision for education and leadership saw her land the role of national leader of governance in 2015, supporting numerous school governors with mentoring support and external reviews of governance.

She has also represented governance on the Advisory Board for the East Midlands since July 2022, advising the Department of Education Regional Directors on system development.

Matt Crawford, Trust Leader for Embark Federation, says that the honour is fully deserved.

“We are all delighted at Embark to hear the news of Sarah’s honour,” he said.

“She is an incredible woman and gives up so much time as a volunteer supporting our Embark schools and also the wider education system locally, regionally and nationally.

The Embark Federation – including Sarah Armitage MBE – celebrate in London.

“Sarah has improved so many children’s lives through her volunteer work as a governor/trustee and has dedicated so many hours to it. Her passion shines through and she is such an asset to our trust and leads the board so skilfully.

“She has really developed a team approach and assembled an excellent group of trustees to support her. Sarah has an unrelenting drive and has been so pivotal to the success of Embark and would thoroughly deserve an honour for all the hours she has given as a volunteer to ensure its success.

“Pivotal to the success of Embark Federation, Sarah has supported me personally since I became a headteacher in 2011 and I can’t think of anyone more deserving to be recognised in this way.

“Sarah is simply amazing.”

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