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ODST Chair awarded MBE for services to education

ODST's Chair of Trustees, Kathy Winrow, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen's birthday honours, for services to education.

Kathy has been Chair of Trustees since ODST was created in 2012 to support 3 schools in Oxford. Her leadership has since seen the ODST family grow to 38 schools, while ensuring the central purpose remains focused on serving all communities, closing the attainment gap for the most disadvantaged and improving all schools.

Her determination to ensure that no child is left behind, combined with a deep belief in the intrinsic value and potential of all people means she is constantly driving the trust forward, asking for more, and better, but in the context of a value system which enables both children and employees to feel valued and develop at their own pace.

The growth and success of ODST schools under Kathy’s time as chair has been exceptional. The first schools into ODST -  the John Henry Newman Academy, Wheatley CE school and St Christopher’s Cowley - were identified for academy sponsorship while in Special Measures in 2012/13. All three schools are now judged Good by Ofsted and are strong enough to work together to support their own development. ODST’s overall KS2 data shows a three-year rising trend, with attainment broadly in line with national averages by 2019.

Kathy visits every school in the Trust on a regular basis, and handwrote personally to every headteacher at the start of 2020's lockdown and again at the end of the school year, to thank and encourage them. She attends the monthly SLT meetings of the central trust team, chairs not only the trust but also its Education Standards committee, and sits on The Executive committee, Audit and Pay and Personnel committees. She also has regular one-to-one catch-ups with ODST’s CEO, Anne Dellar.

'Outstanding' headteacher and education leader

Her career as an exceptionally successful secondary school headteacher has undoubtedly prepared her for this voluntary role as Trust Chair. On joining ODST as Chair, she was a serving headteacher at Ranelagh School, where she led the school through three ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted inspections. The school was judged Outstanding again in January 2015, barely a month after she retired. As National Leader of Education she supported schools in some of the most deprived areas in the South of England; she has continued to work for the system undertaking peer governance reviews for other Trusts and establishing and maintaining key stakeholder relationships to ensure that ODST can work collaboratively to make the biggest difference for children.

For many years she has run a children’s holiday club connected to St George’s Anglican Church in Newbury, with as many as 300 children attending across the summer. She is currently a member of the Church of England’s General Synod “because the Church needs to take educational excellence seriously;” she will lobby Bishops, Lords, MPs, local councillors, local clergy and anyone else to help them understand the needs of young people and how they can help to meet those needs. She is also a member of the Oxford Diocesan Board of Education, again to ensure joined up thinking and effectiveness across the organisations.

Kathy has selflessly given her time voluntarily as ODST Chair in a way which goes far beyond chairing meetings – she is an integral part of the Trust’s success.

"I feel so humbled to have been awarded an MBE and whilst it is a joy to receive it, I could not have achieved it without the help of some outstanding teachers, staff and young people across the schools and communities that I have worked in. This award is testament to the importance of education and the huge impact it can have on young people today."

Kathy Winrow MBE, ODST Chair of Trustees