Humbled at receiving OBE in Honours List

Headteacher at Whitley Bay High School Adam Chedburn.
Headteacher at Whitley Bay High School Adam Chedburn.

A former headteacher has said he was “humbled” to have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.

Adam Chedburn, who retired last summer after 21 years in charge of Whitley Bay High School, was awarded an OBE in recognition for his work to the education system.

And although surprised to have received the honour, he said it was due to the staff and students at the school.

Speaking to the News Guardian, he said: “It was a complete surprise, it came out of the blue.

“I still have no idea who nominated me.

“It’s very humbling to have been offered something like this. You certainly don’t go into education expecting honours like this and it genuinely was a surprise.

“I received the notification letter near the end of November and had to keep quiet until December 30.

“As a headteacher, we are accustomed to having confidential information. I only told a handful of people. My wife and children were excited about it.

“It’s been very humbling to see the number of people who have acknowledged the honour.

“It’s very good for the education system. Comprehensive schools are regularly under criticism from Ofsted, from the national press and I think people are genuinely delighted when the work of the school through its headteacher is recognised.

“It’s a great honour for me and also for the school and all the things the school has achieved over the last 20 years.”

Mr Chedburn added: “I’m very proud of the reputation the school has gained in my time there. It’s great for the community that the school attained so many accolades.

Despite retiring last summer, Mr Chedburn has kept himself busy, continuing to help local and national education.

“Since my retirement last summer, I still do some work for the school,” he said.

Mr Chedburn has worked with Mike Hughes on a new book looking at education, writing the foreword, while a section features the success at Whitley Bay High.

He has also been doing some work with his replacement Steve Wilson, who was part of his team at Whitley Bay High School, and has also done some work with Newcastle University.

“I’ve been careful not to take on too much as when you retire, you are supposed to take a step back,” he added.

Mr Chedburn is now waiting to hear when he will be invited to Buckingham Palace to collect his honour from the Queen.