THE head teacher of the Durand Academy has been knighted in the Queen’s birthday honours list for services to education.
Greg Martin took over as head of the failing London school in 1986 and turned it around.
In September, 2012, the school, which is situated in Stockwell, extended to incorporate a middle school and a state boarding school – which is scheduled to open at the former St Cuthman’s School, on the edge of Stedham, in 2014.
The scheme has faced fierce opposition from residents of the area.
It would cater for children aged between 13 and 18.
A spokeswoman for the school said the school would help to give inner city children ‘the type of education usually only the preserve of the very privileged in society’.
In response to the knighthood, Sir Greg said: “I am speechless and humbled by this announcement.
“In my view there is no vocation more rewarding, or job more important, than the one I have been lucky enough to fulfil for the last 40 years.
““I have met many thousands of parents during this time and one thing unites them all – a heartfelt desire for their child to succeed.
“All I have ever sought to do in my career is to give children the best possible start in life, equip them the tools and structures they need to achieve and encourage them to aim sky high, no matter what their background.”
Residents remain determined to fight the academy’s proposal.