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OBE awarded to former WAES Principal

Former Westminster Adult Education Service (WAES) Principal, Barbara Holm has been awarded an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services in adult education on the Queen's New Year's Honours List. The honour recognises contributions to major local achievements in business, charity and the public sector.

Barbara served as the Principal and Head of Service at WAES for 19 years, taking the service to Grade 2/Good at Ofsted inspections, including the most recent 2016 inspection where inspectors said it was 'heading towards outstanding'. During her time at WAES Barbara developed and introduced new governance arrangements including the introduction of a Board of Governors and a Scheme of Delegation from Westminster City Council. 

Barbara’s passion for the adult learning industry is evident in her statements on receiving the award;

“Adult Education inspires, motivates, enriches lives, teaches new skills, gets people into work, facilitates healing for people with mental and physical ill health, provides self-confidence and pride (often for the first time ever) and it can profoundly change the lives of those who participate for the better. Alongside these things it also provides the opportunity for people to meet with others, to make new friends and break out of a potentially lonely and isolated existence. How many people are fortunate enough to be able to say that their job has such a profound impact on the lives of others? What an absolute privilege I have had to be involved in this work.”

Barbara also served as Chair of Holex, the national leading body for adult and community education eager to become involved in championing adult education nationally with the aim to ensure that the work done at WAES and other adult education services throughout the country was; “valued, properly funded, had a strong identity and continued to develop and improve.”

Former colleagues of Barbara were thrilled to hear of the award, Carolyn Keen, WAES Chair of the Board of Governors said;

"How proud and pleased governors were to hear that our former Principal, Barbara Holm, had been awarded the OBE for her services to adult education. This not only reflects the high reputation that Westminster Adult Education Service earned under her leadership but also the contribution she is making to ensuring the value of adult education is recognised and supported by politicians and funders."

Sue Pember, Director of Policy and External Relations at the community learning body Holex also commented saying;

“We are delighted that all Barbara’s excellent work for adult education has been recognised in this way, her OBE is richly deserved. As well as her work leading an excellent adult education centre, she was the chair of Holex and as such has been a fantastic advocate and ambassador for adult education." 



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