The Laidlaw Schools Trust (LST) today welcomed the OBE awarded in the New Year’s Honours List to Phil Marshall – former Executive Principal of the trust’s Excelsior Academy in Newcastle.

Mrs Marshall transformed educational achievement and life opportunities for thousands of children in Newcastle’s west end during eight years as Excelsior’s Executive Principal.

She retired from her post in December 2015 after a teaching career spanning 38 years.

Mrs Marshall received an OBE for her services to education in the New Year’s Honours List.

“It’s very humbling and rewarding to get such recognition for doing something I’ve enjoyed doing so much,” said Mrs Marshall.

“The whole Excelsior Academy experience has been fantastic and rewarding enough in itself, so to be recognised nationally for doing that work is surprising and makes me feel very grateful.

“Excelsior Academy is successful because everyone – the children, the parents, the staff, the governors, the whole community – believes in what we are doing.”

The Laidlaw Schools Trust was founded by Lord Laidlaw – a highly successful international businessman and entrepreneur – to improve the life chances of young people.

Mrs Marshall was appointed by the trust to set up the new Excelsior Academy as Executive Principal in 2007, to ensure it opened on time to welcome its first intake of pupils a year later.

LST Sponsor Lord Laidlaw said: “The award of an OBE to Phil for her services to education is fitting national recognition of her outstanding leadership and dedication shown throughout her career.

“Under her leadership, Excelsior Academy has become one of the top 200 most improved state secondary schools in the UK and one of the highest performing secondary schools or academies in the North East for attainment and progress.

“More pupils than ever before left Excelsior’s sixth form college this summer to attend the university of their choice and it’s fair to say that Phil and her staff at Excelsior have transformed exam results for pupils in the local area as well as their career and life opportunities.”

Mrs Marshall spent 19 years as a head teacher. She was head of both Sandhill View and Monkwearmouth Secondary Schools in Sunderland. Both improved dramatically under her leadership.

Mrs Marshall is still contributing her expertise to help pupils realise their full potential as the LST’s Education Director, supporting Excelsior and the trust’s other academies Thomas Walling and Atkinson Road Primaries, both in Newcastle, and Academy 360 in Sunderland.