Long-serving headteacher becomes MBE in Queen's Birthday Honours

Maryland Primary School headteacher Lorna Jackson MBE

Maryland Primary School headteacher Lorna Jackson MBE - Credit: Rehan Jamil

A woman who has taught in Newham for more than 40 years has become an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Lorna Jackson, who lives in Stratford and has been headteacher of Maryland Primary School since 2001, was recognised for her services to education.

She told the Recorder: "I do of course feel very proud at being nominated and that my services to education are recognised."

Lorna was born in Jamaica and came to England aged five in 1961.

But her younger years saw her endure discrimination at a secondary school in north London where she said she was the only black child.

"That only made me more resilient and ambitious. My love of learning led me to becoming a teacher."

She started at Hartley School in East Ham in 1979, becoming one of few black teachers in Newham at the time.

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Lorna became deputy head of Maryland School in 1985 - the school becoming Maryland Primary in 1990.

On her first day as headteacher, she recalled standing in her office and saying to herself "And now it begins".

Lorna is most proud of the school's improved educational standards during her time in charge.

She added: "I enjoy the impact that our school environment has on the lives of our children, some of whom are facing unprecedented challenges in their young lives.

"Children will tell you that Mrs Jackson likes calm - whilst taking a deep breath in and out to demonstrate what they mean."

For her, leadership is "about instilling ambition and enhancing talents" and believes her career has served as inspiration for others.

Lorna said: "I have my life story in a timeline in photos outside my office where visitors and children can see where I started my journey as a Windrush child back in the countryside of Jamaica in 1955, with my one beloved dolly and not much more.

"I have a mantra displayed on the wall in my office that states 'Those who say it can't be done should not disturb the person doing it'.

"This has always shaped the direction of my life."

She said her honour was for the community, school staff and "the thousands of children who have passed through my school and given me joy and passion to continue to make a positive change on their lives".

"The award is the best thank you gift I can imagine."