The leader and passionate driving force behind Cumbria Education Trust (CET), Lorrayne Hughes, Chief Executive, has been awarded an OBE in the King’s Birthday Honours, for her services to education.

Lorrayne has led the Trust since its inception in 2015. CET is now responsible for the education of more than 5,000 young people, aged 2 to 18, across the county. We have been recognised in recent years for our strong track record on school improvement and the professional development of teachers and school leaders.

Lorrayne said: “I am delighted to have been recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours; it is great acknowledgement of all that we have achieved at Cumbria Education Trust.

“It has been my honour to serve so many fantastic young people and to raise the quality of education working alongside some of the most dedicated, hardworking and loyal colleagues you could possibly wish for. This is a tribute to the family that is Cumbria Education Trust.”

George Beveridge, Chair of the CET Trust Board, paid tribute on behalf of the board to Lorrayne’s drive and inspiration.

He said: “This honour is richly deserved for everything that Lorrayne has put into her career in education. Her motivation is always to think about young people and how we can improve their education, life experiences and opportunities.

“CET is a positive, forward-thinking Trust that never rests on its laurels and, in large part, that is down to Lorrayne and her drive for continuous improvement.”

Lorrayne took up her first headship at William Howard School in Brampton in 2007 and, in 2014, was commissioned to bring about rapid improvement in two Workington schools in special measures. The new Workington Academy was the first school to join CET – it is now thriving, oversubscribed, and in 2022, achieved a Good rating from Ofsted.

Many schools that have joined the Trust have improved to a Good rating under the guidance and support of CET, most notably The Whitehaven Academy in 2023, which suffered a series of high-profile failures under previous leadership.

Anyone in the Trust who engages with Lorrayne knows how passionate she is about inclusion and that all young people deserve a high-quality education. Our young people are always at the heart of every strategic decision she makes. Every school she works with focuses on her vision to enable young people to reach their potential, whether they are a CET school or not, by providing an innovative and inspiring learning experience.

We are immensely proud of Lorrayne for receiving this well-deserved recognition for her contributions to education and young people. She is an inspiration to many. Congratulations!