Banbury area woman awarded MBE for services to children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities in the New Year Honours list 2022
The Gallery Trust, a multi academy special trust based in Oxfordshire, has confirmed that chief executive officer, Kay Willett, has been recognised in the New Year Honours List 2022 with an MBE for her services to children and young People with Special Educational Needs. The award acknowledges the dedication Kay has given throughout her career to supporting pupils with special needs to achieve their best possible outcomes from their education.
Kay, who is from Enstone, said: “I am absolutely thrilled to receive this honour, and I am very grateful. I am delighted that the work of The Gallery Trust has been acknowledged in this way, and I regard the award to be a tribute to the fantastic staff, parents and families, and above all, the students I have worked with over the years.”
Since graduating from Winchester University in 1989, Kay has worked as a teacher, head teacher, national leader in education, and now as the CEO of The Gallery Trust. Kay has worked in special and mainstream education for over 25 years, and was head teacher of Iffley Academy, Oxfordshire’s largest special school, since 2003.
Kay was instrumental in the founding and growth of The Gallery Trust, a community of special academies, which has grown to include six special schools, two free special schools in pre-opening, and a satellite provision.
The Gallery Trust is both recognised locally and nationally as a centre of educational excellence in special education. The trust, under Kay’s leadership, is known for its innovative approaches, such as the introduction of restorative practices to schools, for its inclusive culture, and for its commitment to providing high standards of teaching and learning and pastoral care for all students.
Chair of The Gallery Trust’s board of trustees, Chris Scrivener, said: “On behalf of the trust, I would like to congratulate Kay for receiving this MBE. Kay has made an exceptional contribution to the lives of students with special needs and their families during her career, and this recognition is well deserved.”
The Gallery Trust currently has seven special schools in its Trust: Iffley Academy, Bardwell School, Orion Academy, Northern House Academy, Springfield School, Mabel Prichard School and Bloxham Grove Academy. Bloxham Grove Academy is currently in the pre-opening phase of development.
Bloxham Grove Academy, a new free special school, is currently in the pre-opening phase of planning and while an opening date is not yet confirmed, the trust hopes that this new provision for students with SEND will open in 2023/24. The school’s educational offer will be closely modelled on that provided by Iffley Academy.
The new academy will cater for 100 students with SEND by year four of opening, and it will be co-located with another school on a rural site in North Oxfordshire.