RSS Feed

Former Diocesan Director of Education and CEO of DEMAT awarded an OBE

Tricia Pritchard, former diocesan Director of Education and CEO of DEMAT has been awarded an OBE for services to Education and Social Mobility in Fenland and East Cambridgeshire.

Tricia was recognised especially for her work as the Independent Chair of Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area Partnership Board. 

“I feel incredibly honoured and extremely humbled to have received this award for services to education and social mobility in my home area of Fenland and East Cambridgeshire. The Opportunity Area programme and its successor, the Priority Area Programme, are about providing the right support to schools and pupils, regardless of background, ability or where they live or go to school, so that they have access to a high-quality education which extends their opportunities to choose from a wide range of careers and career routes. These programmes are about making a difference and transforming life chances—two causes about which I have been very passionate throughout my career. I am very fortunate to be working with colleagues locally, nationally, in schools, colleges and other educational establishments who share the same commitment to overcoming barriers to learning, and I want to say a public ‘thank you’ to them all.”

 Identified as a Government Opportunity Area in 2017, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire was one of twelve regions in the United Kingdom to receive additional funding to help overcome barriers to learning and increase social mobility. The funding contributed to laying the foundations and supporting the implementation of a programme to equip young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, with the skills, knowledge, experience and education they need to gain access to a wide range of career choices and career routes. Opportunity areas (which have been known since 2022 as priority areas), are served by a partnership board, comprising an independent chair, and representation from key stakeholders in education and the community. Tricia has served as the independent chair of the Fenland and East Cambridgeshire partnership board since 2017, and continues to serve as independent chair for the priority area. 

The board and the programme team consulted extensively with a wide range of educational and non-educational organisations to identify four key priorities: accelerating progress in communication, language and reading; strengthening the effectiveness of support for children and young people with mental health concerns and special educational needs; raising aspirations and increasing access to a wide range of career choices; improving the recruitment and retention of the best teachers and leaders. Armed with the knowledge that every school is different, an important feature of the programme is adopting a place-based approach whereby schools contribute to shaping the strategy and take ownership of the objectives. Alongside building capacity, establishing and developing partnerships, networks and platforms of trust, capturing the Youth’s voice is a vital part of the process.  

Tricia’s whole career has been in education, spending four years at Homerton College studying music and to be a teacher, during which time she was also deputy Organist at Great St. Mary’s in Cambridge. Her first teaching post was in the Diocese of Ely, at Duxford C of E Primary School. Tricia’s career has spanned primary, secondary and further education, following her time at Duxford she spent three years teaching in Norwich and then 31 years in Oxford, where she became a primary school headteacher, local authority advisor, and an HMI.  Tricia moved back to the Ely Diocese in 2004, when her husband David took up his post as Canon Precentor of Ely Cathedral. Tricia was appointed as Diocesan Director of Education in December 2012, during which time she hugely enjoyed supporting church schools in the Diocese and “working with wonderful and inspiring colleagues”. Tricia was also involved in setting up the Diocese of Ely Multi-Academy Trust (DEMAT), which celebrates its 10th Anniversary in 2023. Since 2015, Tricia has been involved in being a trustee of several educational charities, including the Church Schools of Cambridge Trust which she now chairs. Tricia’s motto is to “never turn down an opportunity, you never know where it will lead!”.

Page last updated: Tuesday 11th July 2023 6:42 PM
First published on: 11th July 2023
Powered by Church Edit