Trio from Calderdale given MBE’s in Queen’s Birthday Honours

Three people Calderdale have been given an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 10:30 pm
Halifax head teacher Liz Whetham
Halifax head teacher Liz Whetham

Liz Whetham, Executive Headteacher at Holy Trinity Primary School, gets the award for services to education, Robert Mitchell, principal social worker for Bradford Council, receives the award for services to the social work profession, and Fahima Khanom, Hhub lead for the Check Challenge Appeal at the Halifax Valuation Office Agency, gets the award for services to customers during Covid-19.

Throughout his career as a social worker, Robert has consistently promoted the voice of older people and people with disabilities. He has led successful social work teams in every area of practice and is a figure that even before his leadership days was admired and respected from professionals all over Yorkshire and Humber Region.

During his time in Bradford, he raised the profile of adult social work within the local area whilst also contributing to the transformation of the quality of practice, delivering improvements which uphold social work values, ensuring people who need support from social workers are treated with dignity and experience freedom from disproportionate interference in their lives.

This has included leading a teaching partnership with the local university and college to develop the next generation of social workers.

His leadership has improved the profile and perception of social work in the area and resulted in over a million pounds towards recruiting 30 new social work roles and improved retention.

On a national level, he was Co-Chair of the national Adult Principal Social Workers Network in England. He helped shape the relatively young network in 2014 into the leading and vibrant organisation it now is.

As part of this work he led national days of actions. He also served on Baroness Finlay’s national Mental Capacity Leadership Forum in 2016, contributing to publication by the forum of a national competencies’ framework.

Fahima has greatly improved staff engagement at a site which has historically struggled to involve staff in Continuous Improvement.

She has done great work in implementing a new standard of management meeting, resulting in her team routinely making excellent suggestions for improvement.

This culture change has been incredibly positive, made work much more interesting for staff, and greatly increased morale.

Since COVID, she’s trained over 100 staff from all areas of the business, some with very little prior knowledge of the subject. This has greatly assisted with recovering the CCA position following the temporary closure of sites.

Staff have not only performed well but exceeded their performance targets which is a credit to her training and dedication to supporting people. The impact of her training was pivotal in being able to recover the CCA customer services.

Liz has been at Holy Trinity since 2007, first as Deputy Headteacher and then as Headteacher when the school converted to Academy status in 2012. Holy Trinity is a two-form entry primary school and nursery in the centre of Halifax.

She has been a teacher for 23 years and worked as an Advanced Skills Teacher and Local Authority consultant for developing interactive whiteboard technology prior to joining Holy Trinity.

Since becoming a Local Leader of Education (LLE) for Teamworks Teaching School Alliance Liz, has been responsible for the designation of Specialist Leaders of Education (SLEs) and LLEs and has supported other schools, led professional learning opportunities, supporting teaching and learning development.

Liz is the Pupil Premium Review Coordinator for West Yorkshire. She is also the Teaching School Council West Yorkshire sub-regional lead. In 2017 she led her school to winning the Food for Life Gold Award. The award recognises the school’s commitment to the food education of their pupils, and a healthy food culture which benefits not just pupils, but staff and the wider community.

Holy Trinity pupils grow and harvest their own produce, much of which is served in the school lunches. She has made a significant contribution to the development of education policy around workload reduction, an initiative that has helped schools to cut teacher workload significantly. Liz has continued to be a strong advocate for workload reduction and has promoted this strongly in schools.

Throughout COVID-19, Liz has been working to ensure schools are able to provide the best education to all their children, whether they are in school or at home.