The plaudits have been pouring in from across our collaborative learning community as the hard work of our colleagues is recognised and rewarded.

The celebrations are done for another year, the decorations packed away and our colleagues are getting back into the swing of things for another year.  There is still time for another toast, however, as we recognise our colleagues’ achievements in their respective territories.

Teacher award – Lise Proulx

In November 2022, Lise Proulx, a French teacher at Philemon Wright High School, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada received the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Her Principal, Dodie Payne, said: “Lise Proulx is an outstanding teacher who has taught in Western Quebec School Board for 27 years. Lise is always improving as a teacher because she is committed to continuous learning and growing professionally.

“She participates in many professional development opportunities, is a key player in professional learning groups that run within the school, and she loves to learn and participates in professional dialogue that leads to improved practice for herself and her colleagues. Lise lives our school vision every day; to maximise student achievement we are dedicated to continually increasing the quality of teaching and learning in our school and our school board.”

“As a member of the French department, Lise works closely with her colleagues on a daily basis. Her smile and caring approach go a long way in creating that family atmosphere with her team.”

Lise, pictured centre, receiving her award.

“Lise has been a coach for the Western Quebec School Board Teacher Induction Program for a number of years and coaches new French teachers every year, working with them towards their professional growth goals and supporting them with strategies to meet their goals.

“Lise is an excellent Prime Minister’s Award recipient.  She continues to support the school, her colleagues and is always focused on student success. Always an advocate for building relationships, building community, and strong pedagogies. Lise’s passion is always at the forefront of her work in education.

Pupil award – Penelope Adkin

Penelope Adkins, a former student at Lord Aylmer Elementary School, now at Symmes Jr. High School, Penned an Award-Winning Essay.

Mike Dubeau, Director General of the Western Quebec School Board said Lord Aylmer School held a surprise assembly on the morning of December 6 to honour Penelope for her amazing accomplishment, with Penelope greeted by cheers and applause from students when she was ushered into the school gym on the pretence of meeting her former teacher.

In May 2022 while in Grade 6, Penelope was encouraged by her teacher, Corinna Chaudhary, to enter the prestigious Royal Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition.  Started in 1883, it is the world’s oldest international writing competition for schools, and the 2022 competition received a record-breaking 26,300 entries. Each year, young people write on a theme that stems from the Commonwealth’s values and principles, developing key literacy skills whilst also fostering an empathetic and open-minded world view

Penelope won a bronze award for her “touching and thought-provoking” composition entitled, “Like Keller”.  Ms. Chaudhary, Penelope’s proud grade 6 English Language teacher, said Penelope’s placement in the competition was a stunning achievement.

During the assembly, Penelope encouraged her former Lord Aylmer schoolmates to enter this year’s competition and to explore creative writing. She then read her story to the audience.

Essay by Penelope Adkins  – Like Helen Kelle

Honours for leaders of education – Professor Becky Francis, Keiran Osborn

In the United Kingdom, two of our colleagues received honours in the first New Year’s Honours list of King Charles III.

Professor Becky Francis, who has been Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Fund since January 2020, received a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to education. The Foundation’s valuable material is regularly used by our colleagues to improve their theory in use. This emerges from the Foundation’s extensive research programmes. The work of this innovative organisation has been well received by the profession and their findings are used to inform government policy.  The model has been replicated in several other countries. Before taking up this post Becky led the Institute of Education (IOE), University College London (UCL) and was Director of Education at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA). She has worked as a teacher, researcher and an administrator.

Keiran Osborn, Chair of Trustees, Impact Multi Academy Trust, London received an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to education. Kieran previously served as CEO of the Impact Multi Academy Trust and as Headteacher in three schools for more than 25 years. He was also CEO of two other Trusts. He was Principal of Hayes School from 2004-16. Hayes is an outstanding, (Ofsted 2013), 11-18 mixed comprehensive school.

Keiran was a National Leader of Education and has served as a senior partner of a number of school-led partnerships as well as being Chair of Challenge Partners and of the London and National Chairs of Headteachers. He was a Director of the Bromley Collegiate SCITT, which trains and accredits more than 100 teachers a year.

We work closely with Keiran on a number of issues and when Challenge Partners was formed, he was among the first group of senior partners and chairperson. He brought to this role all the excellence one would expect from someone who had led an outstanding school and had also been a key member of the London Leadership Strategy group and a regional coordinator and leader of the Fellowship programme for the National College.

School’s award – Dubai English Speaking College

Finally, it would be remiss of us not to mention the result of the recent inspection, carried out by the education authority in Dubai, at the Dubai English Speaking College (DESC). You will be pleased to know that it retained its outstanding status.

After being constantly inspected during the lockdown to ensure the school was abiding by the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of COVID this was a different and more taxing affair. The school had last been inspected before the lockdown; since then, with pupil numbers continuing to increase at one of the few not for profit schools in the UAE, the school staff and parents were interested to see if an external evaluation would show that the school had maintained the high standards they have set over many years, even during the prolonged period of home-schooling. The outstanding grading validated their continuing hard work.

We are aware that we have only mentioned a very few of the achievements of those involved in our collaborative learning communities, but we feel that this snapshot is an indication of the excellence to be found across them all.

Wherever you are reading this, we hope you have a great year and enjoy collaborating with your peers to ensure that your pupils receive an education which represents the wisdom of the global education community.

Take care and stay safe


Professor Sir George Berwick, CBE