Bridgnorth school praises former student awarded MBE for teaching in Shrewsbury

The former school of a Shropshire man who was awarded an MBE has praised his prestigious achievement.

Gareth Smith was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours earlier this month
Gareth Smith was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours earlier this month

Gareth Smith was given special recognition in the Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to children and young people throughout the coronavirus pandemic during his time as department lead at Severndale Specialist Academy in Shrewsbury.

The former Bridgnorth Endowed School (BES) students helped shape and develop the online learning platform for children with educational difficulties and complex needs.

The project involved leading a team of staff who planned, filmed and produced hundreds of virtual creative art sessions over nine weeks.

These were accessed through the Oak National Academy by tens of thousands of students.

Gareth said: "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 and 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 added: “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.

“My time at Bridgnorth Endowed nurtured my love of the creative arts, which has been the cornerstone of my career so far.”

A spokesperson from BES said: "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.

"Congratulations to Gareth on his fantastic achievement."

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