Former Pupil Awarded MBE for Services to Children and Young People

Gareth Smith with the letter informing him of his MBE award

We’re extremely proud to share the news that a former Bridgnorth Endowed School student has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list that was announced earlier this month.

Gareth Smith, who works as a Department Lead at Severndale Specialist Academy in Shrewsbury, was given special recognition for his services to children and young people during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of the national drive to provide high quality online lessons and resources following school closures, he helped to shape and develop the specialist offer for children with learning difficulties and complex needs.

The project involved leading a team of staff who planned, filmed and produced hundreds of virtual creative arts sessions over nine weeks, which were accessed through the Oak National Academy by tens of thousands of students.

During an interview on BBC Radio Shropshire’s Breakfast show last week, he explained: “Lockdown presented us with many challenges on how we could best support our students.”

“We zoomed our families twice a day to teach and keep in touch, and we collaborated with Oak National Academy, making dedicated lessons using a multi-sensory approach by including music to engage with them.”

“I am highly honoured that I have received an MBE and I’m really looking forward to the day I can go to Buckingham Palace to receive the award from Her Majesty The Queen.”

Gareth, who left BES in 2007, studied in Cardiff for a degree in music technology, then worked as a freelance audio engineer before moving to London to train to become a teacher in 2012. Since then, he has worked in Special Educational Needs schools, using music to encourage and motivate communication.

Gareth revealed: “After my first week of working with children with special educational needs eight years ago, I realised what an honour it was to work with students who need such a personalised approach and I have enjoyed every day since.”

About his school experience, he commented: “My time at Bridgnorth Endowed nurtured my love of the creative arts, which has been the cornerstone of my career so far.”

Congratulations to Gareth on his fantastic achievement.

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