Former Principal at Birkenhead Sixth Form College and CEO of Wirral Academy Trust, Kathryn Podmore, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.
Kathryn has received her award for services to education.
She has worked within the education sector for 35 years, starting her teaching at King Edward Vi High School in Stafford. She then worked with the Local Authority in Staffordshire to establish the Chetwynd Centre as a Post-16 provider for A Level provision for five high schools within the town and Stafford College.
Kathryn went on to work at Eccles Sixth Form College in Greater Manchester as Vice Principal, where she was able to have a significant impact, introducing a range of Post-16 innovations for students. Just two of her achievements included the establishment of provision for students with learning difficulties which was deemed to be outstanding by Ofsted and the development of a business centre, which created extensive courses for the local community and business sector.
In 2006, Kathryn became Principal at Birkenhead Sixth Form College which she lead for eleven years. Under her leadership the College developed a clear and ambitious strategy, which had a strong focus on ensuring that there were always high expectations and that students were able to fulfil their full potential in all aspects of their learning and outcomes. The immense achievements of the College were recognised by Ofsted when it received Outstanding in each of the categories that it was judged on in its last inspection. Not only did Kathryn have a focus on the academic achievements but also worked tirelessly to ensure new buildings could be developed on the site along with state of the art facilities to provide students with an excellent learning environment.
As CEO of Wirral Academy Trust, Kathryn has now extended her work with young people in the community to include not only Birkenhead Sixth Form College but also Birkenhead Park School which are both members of the Trust. She is also a governor at Prenton High School and at the Engineering College.
Her work locally and nationally has been recognised as she has chaired local and national committees for leading educational organisations such as Association of College Leaders (ASCL) and the Sixth Form Colleges Association.
On receiving the news of her honour, Kathryn said: “It was an incredible surprise and something that I had never imagined could have been awarded to me. I am deeply honoured and extremely proud to have been nominated for this prestigious accolade. I have been very privileged to have held leadership positions in the world of education. It has been an amazing journey and wonderful to see so many students, irrespective of their circumstances, show so much determination and achieve highly. Throughout my career, I have been very fortunate to have worked with so many incredible young people and inspirational colleagues.
"Working in education is a team effort and I shall always be grateful for all the support that I have received. I hope that I have been able to make a small contribution for the benefit of young people within the communities that I have worked.”