Friday, May 19th, 2017.

Phil pictured with her OBE at Buckingham Palace

A former headteacher who transformed life opportunities for thousands of North East children received her OBE from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace today.

Phil Marshall – most recently Executive Principal at Excelsior Academy – collected her award for services to education.

The honour recognised a teaching career spanning 38 years at schools in Darlington, Sunderland and Newcastle before Mrs Marshall retired in December 2015.

She is still contributing her expertise to help pupils realise their full potential as education director for the Laidlaw Schools Trust, supporting Excelsior and the trust’s other academies Thomas Walling and Atkinson Road Primaries, both in Newcastle, and Academy 360 in Sunderland.

Mrs Marshall celebrated her award with her family who travelled with her to London and reflected on her teaching career.

“This is a great honour, a very exciting day and a fantastic tribute to the children, staff, parents and governors of Newcastle’s Excelsior Academy, Laidlaw Schools Trust and our sponsor Irvine Laidlaw,” she said.

“I would like also to thank the staff, governors and pupils of Sandhill View School, Sunderland and Monkwearmouth School in Sunderland for their support during my time as headteacher of those schools, as well as Longfield School in Darlington where I was a deputy headteacher.

“Being a teacher and then a headteacher is an enormous privilege – I have enjoyed working with thousands of truly inspirational children and so many dedicated staff members during my 40 years’ career in education.”

Laidlaw Schools Trust Sponsor Lord Laidlaw said: “The award of an OBE to Phil for her services to education is fitting national recognition of her outstanding leadership and dedication shown throughout her career.

“Under her leadership, Excelsior Academy has become one of the top 200 most improved state secondary schools in the UK and one of the highest performing secondary schools or academies in the North East for attainment and progress.

“More pupils than ever before left Excelsior’s sixth form college this summer to attend the university of their choice and it’s fair to say that Phil and her staff at Excelsior have transformed exam results for pupils in the local area as well as their career and life opportunities.”

Mrs Marshall spent 19 years as a headteacher. As head of both Sandhill View and Monkwearmouth secondary schools in Sunderland, both improved dramatically under her leadership.