OBE for Kenilworth’s Kathryn over fight for disabled education
Kathryn Margaret Rudd received the honour for her ongoing services to further education for young adults with learning difficulties.
As reported in last week’s KWN, Ms Rudd was brought up in Kenilworth where her mother and family still live.
The 42-year-old who was born in Coventry now lives in Cheltenham where she has been principal of the National Star College since 2010.
And her years of work campaigning for rights and education for young adults with complex disabilities and severe learning disabilities all led up to the royal award.
But she told the KWN that despite being “honoured” to receive the award, it was as much a testament to the hard work of everyone at the college as to herself.
She said: “I am delighted, it is just all so surreal. I keep having to remind myself that this is really happening.
“It is amazing, but not just for me, it is fantastic news for all of the college staff and hard working students who have made this happen.
“This is group recognition for the incredible work and everyone there is so pleased.”
The former Castle Sixth former and Kenilworth School pupil worked at the college for around six years before being made principal and has used the time to try and make a difference for all those in need of education.
The college, which teaches students aged from 18 and up, received an outstanding rating from Ofsted in 2012 - just two years after she took over as head.
Kathryn has played a leading role in lobbying the Government over both the new funding reforms and the proposed Children and Families Bill, meeting with key ministers and speaking in the House of Lords.
She is also chair of the Association of National Specialist Colleges (Natspec) and has campaigned for proposed changes to education funding for special education schools.
Under the proposed draft bill there would be a single and much simpler assessment process and education and care plan to replace the existing system of statements and learning difficulty assessments.
This would mean only one plan for every child which takes into account their health, education and social care needs, rather than a multitude of plans.
It would be the biggest overhaul of the SEN system in 30 years and described as “paramount” that education, health and care be offered in an integrated, joined up way - the way already offered at National Star.
Kathryn said: “Never has it been so important to defend the rights and needs of young people with disabilities.”
“At National Star we see on a daily basis the amazing progress young people can make.
“It is vital they continue to be able to access the right education and support in order to become equal and active citizens in their own communities.”