John Phillips A HEADTEACHER who turned a Dagenham comprehensive threatened with closure into one of state education s leading lights has received a knighthood. Paul Grant famously suspended 300 unruly pupils in his first week at the helm of Robert Clack School, Gosfiel
A HEADTEACHER who turned a Dagenham comprehensive threatened with closure into one of state education's leading lights has received a knighthood.
Paul Grant famously suspended 300 unruly pupils in his first week at the helm of Robert Clack School, Gosfield Road, in 1997 in a bid to enforce discipline.
In February, it was identified by Ofsted as one of just 12 former "sink" schools in the country that had excelled "against all odds".
His vigorous campaigning to tackle a 30 per cent truancy rate, atrocious behaviour, poor standards and a "rock bottom" reputation paid off, with the science school having achieved the highest A-level results in the borough last year and pupils regularly landing places at Oxbridge and other top universities.
The eldest of seven children in a working class family from Liverpool, Mr Grant was stunned to be knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours list at the weekend.
- 1 The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee flypast: Where, and when, the planes will fly over north and east London
- 2 Dagenham man fined within hours of fly-tipping at bus stop
- 3 Girl, 17, held on suspicion of terrorism offences after east London arrest
- 4 Police appeal after intruder reportedly enters Barking home and threatens woman with knife
- 5 Travel bulletin: Havering, Redbridge, Barking and Dagenham
- 6 Cycling festival coming to Barking
- 7 Dagenham and West Ham accused in court after drugs raids
- 8 40 firefighters tackle Anchor Close blaze
- 9 Can you answer these 10 GCSE questions designed for 16-year-olds?
- 10 70 firefighters tackle Dagenham house fire
But he paid tribute to colleagues, pupils and the community as a whole.
Mr Grant said: "I was completely surprised when I received the letter and it came as a huge shock.
"The knighthood is not just for me but also for my colleagues, pupils, parents, governors, the local authority, the council and also the community who have all contributed to the success at Robert Clack."
Barking and Dagenham Council leader Labour Cllr Liam Smith said the achievement was "fantastic" and a "fitting tribute" to his vision.
Cllr Smith said: "What he has done for children in the borough is fantastic. He has worked tirelessly to turn a failing school into one of the best achieving in the borough, and his input into education has been outstanding."
Former Barking firefighter Les Bowman, 44, who saved two children from a burning house in Dagenham in the late 80s, and now helms Kingsland Fire Station, was awarded the Queen's Fire Service Medal.