'DEEPLY honoured'.

That is how a Wharfedale school's headteacher has reacted to the news that she has been awarded an OBE.

Janet Sheriff, who leads Prince Henry's Grammar School in Otley, is receiving the honour in recognition of her services to education in West Yorkshire.

Ms Sheriff, who is also the CEO of the Collaborative Learning Trust, was told she had been named in the Queen's New Year 2021 Honours List a few weeks ago - but initially thought it was a joke.

She said: "I thought the e-mail was a spoof at first!

"Now I know it is for real I am deeply honoured and proud to receive the award.

"It has been very hard to keep it a secret these past few weeks."

Ms Sheriff has worked in school leadership, including for a number of inner city schools, for more than 25 years.

In 2009 she became the first ever BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) secondary headteacher to be appointed in the city of Leeds and the first female headteacher in the 400-plus year history of Prince Henry’s Grammar School.

In 2018 she led the creation of the Collaborative Learning Trust, a Leeds-based multi academy trust whose members currently consist of Prince Henry's, Bramhope Primary and St Mary's C of E Primary, at Hunslet.

Ms Sheriff has also made a significant contribution to education outside of her own school through a number of additional roles including as a National Leader of Education, which involves working with other school leaders across Yorkshire to bring about improvements in children’s education.

She is passionate, too, about increasing diversity in school leadership and has worked for more than ten years to make a difference in that field – including as Chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Diversity Steering Group, Chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Women Leading in Education Steering Group, and leader of the Lancashire and West Yorkshire Equality and Diversity Regional Hub School on behalf of the DfE.

More recently she has also taken on the role of an Ofsted Inspector.

Ms Sheriff, who knew she wanted to become a teacher from the age of 11, said she was 'totally shocked' when she first learnt of her OBE award.