Uxbridge College Principal Awarded OBE

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Uxbridge College Principal, Laraine Smith, has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours List 2010

Uxbridge College's Principal, Laraine Smith, who led the way to an outstanding award from Ofsted inspectors, has been honoured with an OBE.

Ms Smith, who has been Principal of Uxbridge College in Park Road, Uxbridge, since September 2007, was given the award for services to Further Education in 2010's New Year Honours.

Ms Smith has worked in further education for 25 years, joining Uxbridge College in 2003 as Vice Principal for Curriculum and Standards. In this time she has seen the College, which has 10,000 full-time and part-time students and works with 1,500 businesses, ranked first for success rates for students age 16-18 for three years running, out of 39 further education providers in London. The College was given an outstanding award by Ofsted in May 2008, the first time it has been rated at this level.

Ms Smith, who lives in Acton with her husband and their two sons, said: "Personally I am absolutely thrilled - not to mention having been greatly surprised - to have been chosen for this award, which really is an honour for me and for Uxbridge College. I am very touched and very proud and cannot possibly take credit for it by myself. Everyone I have worked with along the way, from staff to students to partners in the wider community, has made a contribution to the successes which have led to this achievement.

"I also feel that the OBE recognises the achievements of Uxbridge College and Further Education as a whole, and the vital work done in the sector giving people of all ages from all backgrounds a chance to learn and succeed."

Those recognised in this year's New Year Honours List will be invited to Buckingham Palace later in the year for an awards ceremony.

Laraine grew up and was educated in Australia and spent the first four years of her teaching career working in comprehensive high schools in Sydney. A move to London followed and after a year teaching at Villiers High School in Southall, Laraine moved into further education in 1985.

In her spare time she is a keen swimmer and enjoys walking.