A FORMER Teesdale resident has been awarded an MBE for his services to education in the New Year’s honours list.
Mark Siswick, who was brought up in Cotherstone and attended the village primary school and Teesdale Comprehensive, developed a national pandemic reading programme to stop children falling behind.
He studied education at Lincoln University before beginning his teaching career in 1995.
Mr Siswick joined Chesterton Primary School, in
south London, in 2004 as deputy headteacher, transforming it from underperforming to outstanding in just two years.
Mr Siswick, now executive headteacher at Chesterton and a co-founder of the Wandler Learning Trust, said: “From the age of seven I pretty much knew what I wanted to be.
“Inspired by the most amazing teachers at Cotherstone primary, and then at Teesdale I knew education and the opportunity to make a positive difference to the next generation was where I wanted to focus my efforts.”
He helped develop a national home learning programme last year to ensure no child got left behind in education during the pandemic.
He added: "Being asked by the Department of Education to work on a national home learning programme in 2020 was an absolute privilege and a huge team effort.
“Our daily phonics videos have been watched by thousands of children, and schools and parents alike have told us what a vital role they are playing in keeping children’s learning on track.
“Throughout my career I have been incredibly fortunate to work with some of the most committed senior leaders and teaching staff.
“Although we are now a growing multi-academy trust and a partnership of schools, I want to say a special thank you to all the staff, pupils and governors at Chesterton Primary School for the way they have so generously supported me over the years.
“I couldn’t do what I do without a great team and so this award is really a tribute to their hard work, and terrific standards they have achieved for children in our school.”