The former headteacher of a school for children with severe autism has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.

Bert Furze was head of Bradstow School, a Wandsworth Council maintained special school, for more than over 15 years until his retirement in August 2012.

He was given the award in recognition for ‘Service to Education’.

Under Mr Furze’s stewardship the school maintained an outstanding rating from schools watchdog Ofsted in successive inspections and was awarded Specialist Schools Status for Communication and Interaction by the Department for Education.

Bradtow’s exceptional performance has also been recognised at the European Excellence Awards where the school beat major institutions like Bosch, Siemens and Liverpool’s John Moores University.

The competition is run by the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) to reward exceptional organisations from across the continent.

Councillor Kathy Tracey, the council's education and children's services spokesman, said: "Bert has made an invaluable contribution to special education and thoroughly deserves this honour.

"At Bradstow he created an exceptional, deeply caring learning environment where children with severe autism and other learning difficulties are able to reach their full potential.

"His work has benefited thousands of young people and we owe him a huge debt of gratitude."

Bradstow,which is based in Kent but is maintained by the council, is one of only a few residential schools in the country dedicated to children who experience autistic spectrum disorders.

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