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Market Drayton education expert's shock over OBE

North Shropshire | News | Published:

An education expert from Market Drayton has spoken of his shock after being honoured with an OBE in the New Year's Honours.

Michael Foy has been given an OBE for services to education.

Mr Foy is the regional head for the Midlands and North West Free Schools Capital Division Education Funding Agency and is currently involved in the setting up of free schools.

Free schools are funded by the Government, but are not run by the local council. They can set their own pay and conditions for staff, change the length of school terms and the school day and do not have to follow the national curriculum.

Free schools are run on a not-for-profit basis and can be set up by groups like charities, universities and community groups.

The 67-year-old said: "It came as a bit of a shock and I was very surprised. It also felt a bit humbling as well.

"My work is dependent on other people and is very much a team job."

Mr Foy started as an apprentice joiner before working up the ranks.

He was previously assistant chief executive at St Helens Council, near Liverpool, and retired in 2011.

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He said: "During my time as assistant chief executive at St Helens Council I was in charge of the building schools for the future programme.

"When that was scrapped I went into retirement.

"I decided to come out of retirement to help with the development of new free schools.

"Free schools come to us and we help them secure buildings, land etc.

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"I believe that every young person deserves the opportunity for the best start in life and that is what drives me.

"I have seen about 123 free schools in the process of development in my region in five and half years."

Mr Foy recently moved to Market Drayton for more space and to be more accessible to the family.

He said: "I really enjoy living in Market Drayton. It was a big change but we have found the people extremely friendly."

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