From education to employment

King’s Birthday Honours List for FE and Skills

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In his first Birthday Honour’s List as sovereign, King Charles III has today (Saturday 17 June 2023) recognised FE staff and leaders from across the country. Across the FE and Skills Eco-system there was one CBE, three OBEs, eight MBEs and three BEMs (British Empire Medals).

Those recently associated with Education Training Collective were awarded a CBE and an OBE! So congrats to Mark White, Philip Cook and the Education Training Collective for this massive achievement.

The awards in the King’s Birthday list are:


CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) was awarded to Mark White, Chair of the AoC Charitable Trust and formerly Education Training Collective.


There were three OBEs (Officers of the British Empire):

  • Philip Cook formerly Chief Executive and Group Principal, Education Training Collective
  • Clare Howard Chief Executive Officer, Natspec
  • Patricia Brennan-Barrett Chief Executive Officer and Principal, Northampton College


Eight MBEs (Members of the British Empire) were awarded:

  • Deborah Blackburn, Assistant Principal, Finance, Aquinas College
  • Mark McClennon, Global CIO at Burberry and Chair, for the digital route panel at IfATE
  • Lloyd Thomas, Apprenticeships and Funded Skills Lead, The Co-Operative Group
  • Gillian Eaton, Director, Sporting Futures Training
  • Robin Lipscombe, Learning Facilitator, Marshall Skills Academy
  • Asitha Panditharatna, Director of Employment Services, The Forward Trust
  • Penelope Taylor, Head, Newark College and Air and Space Institute
  • Julia Adamson, Managing Director, BCS


There were a total of three BEMs (British Empire Medal) awarded:

  • Cheryl Bertschi Tutor, Southend Adult Community College
  • Pauline Franklin Cleaning Supervisor, St Brendan’s Sixth Form College
  • Andrew Green PE Teacher, New College Pontefract

Sector Reaction to the King’s birthday honours list:

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said:

“For the King’s first Birthday Honours, it’s truly inspiring to see almost one hundred awards given to those who are making a positive difference to the lives of families and people in education.

“Honours include those for Junior Frood, for his work as an anti-bullying advocate and dance teacher, Asitha Panditharatna for his work helping get disadvantaged people on the path to employment with The Forward Trust, Siena Castellon, an anti-bullying campaigner and advocate for girls with autism, and David Upjohn, who has fostered children with severe disabilities for 19 years.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges said:

“Further education is a sector of passionate, committed, and hardworking people who change lives, and build communities day in and day out. It is great to see so many leaders and staff celebrated in the King’s Honours List. I’d like to say a special congratulations to Mark White, Phillip Cook and Patricia Brennan-Barrett who have delivered incredible change locally and leadership nationally. I’d also like to say a personal congratulations to Clare Howard, a tireless champion for those with complex learning needs.”

Congrats to everyone who was awarded and also to their colleagues and team.

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