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Queen’s Birthday Honours 2014: Eleanor Palmer School headteacher’s shock at OBE

Kate Frood pictured with young pupils. Picture: Nigel Sutton Kate Frood pictured with young pupils. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Tuesday, June 17, 2014
2:41 PM

The headteacher of one of Camden’s most coveted primary schools has said she is just one of many in her profession who deserve an OBE.

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Kate Frood, head at Eleanor Palmer Primary School in Kentish Town, was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to education.

The 52-year-old, who has taught in Camden for 27 years, led the Lupton Street school to an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted rating in 2011 and last year saw it become a National Teaching School training teachers in Camden.

“I was extremely shocked,” said the mother-of-one, of Kentish Town. “If I get the chance to speak to Her Maj, I will say that the OBE is on behalf of all headteachers.

“There are so many who deserve it because there are so many hard-working headteachers, so this feels slightly implausible, but it is nice that a headteacher anywhere has been recognised.”

As headteacher of Camden’s only National Teaching School, Ms Frood leads an alliance of schools across the borough who conduct research into best practice and work to improve progress of children on free school meals.

She has also worked tirelessly to emphasise the importance of mathematics at primary school level, forging links with national mathematics organisations at the school.

Ms Frood began her career at Fleet Primary School in Fleet Road, Hampstead, in 1983 before moving to Kentish Town CofE School in Islip Road, Kentish Town as deputy head.

She led the school for six years from 1993 but took a break from teaching to become mathematics consultant at Islington Council for four years.

She took up the headship at Eleanor Palmer in 2003.

Places at the school are notoriously hard to come by and the school was at the centre of a furore over parents renting within the school’s tiny catchment area to get their child a place there.

Ms Frood, whose 15-year-old daughter was a pupil at Brookfield Primary School in Highgate before moving onto Camden School for Girls, said she could not pick out a single proudest memory from her time as headteacher.

“The thing about being a teacher is that you don’t have defining moments like this,” she said. “Even this [getting an OBE] would not be a defining moment.

“It’s so different from other jobs. It keeps you grounded.”

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