Queen honours Burnley woman for services to education

Jan Hodges (nee Pollard) OBE
Jan Hodges (nee Pollard) OBE

A former Burnley Girls’ High School pupil has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for her services to education.

Jan Hodges was known to her schoolfriends at Janet Pollard. Aged 58, she was born and brought up in Burnley but left the area in the early 1970s after graduating with a degree in English and French from Sussex University and went on to make a career in teaching.

She did a PGCE at Avery Hill College, London, in 1978 and taught nine years at a grammar school and at a comprehensive in Essex before moving into further education. She became a lecturer at South East Essex College, Southend, in 1987.

Her career blossomed at the college and in 2002 she became Principal and chief executive, a position she held until 2011 and where she championed the importance and benefits of high quality vocational and technical education.

He honour from the Queen is an OBE in recognition of her work in further and higher education and as chief executive of the Edge Foundation, a charity promoting technical, practical and vocational education.

As a girl Mrs Hodges lived with her parents and two brothers in Casterton Avenue. Her brother, Mark, is the assistant head at St John Thursby College, and her brother Brent, a former wicketkeeper with Burnley Cricket Club, now lives in Australia. Her husband, Robert, is the head of Beachamps High School, Wickford, not far from their home in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, where they brought up two sons.

“I have no idea who nominated me,” said Mrs Hodges. “But I’m guessing it is for my involvement with practical education and training. I’ve always been interested in that and have done a lot developing apprenticeships with employers and working with universities on practical and technical courses. It is really nice to be recognised for my work,