A recently retired Sandwell special school principal has been named in the Queen’s New Year Honours list. Gordon Phillips, who retired last summer after ten years as principal at The Meadows Sports College in Oldbury, was made an MBE (Member of the most excellent Order of the British Empire). Gordon, a father-of-two, started teaching in 1975 at Bishop Vaughan RC School in Plymouth, where he was a former pupil himself. He worked in schools around the country until taking up his eleventh and last position as principal at The Meadows Sports College in 2006.

During his time at The Meadows, Gordon raised more than £14,000 for school funds in sponsored 10km runs and made huge improvements to the learning environment including the nature trail. As a mark of his popularity, 22 letters of recommendation for Gordon were sent to the Honours Committee from The Meadows & previous schools, Plymouth Sea Anglers' Club, The Youth Hostel Association and parents.

Gordon said: “I was over the moon when I found out I had been nominated for the award and by so many colleagues and former colleagues. “I loved my time at The Meadows, it was a wonderful school to end my career at thanks to the brilliant dedicated staff there. This award is as much theirs as mine because a great team makes a great school and that's what I was lucky to have - a truly outstanding and loyal team around me.”

Councillor Simon Hackett, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Gordon was an inspiring school principal who influenced the lives of thousands of children.

“He has dedicated his working life to educating children and young people and this is very well-deserved award. I’m really pleased that he’s been recognised for the excellent work he has done over the years.”