A Sutton and Corydon primary school headteacher has been honoured with an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

Frances Hawkes OBE, executive headteacher of the Federation of St Elphege’s & Regina Coeli Catholic Schools, in Mollison Drive, was commemorated for her services to education for this year.

She has been at the federation of schools since 1996 and lived in England for more than 40 years since moving from Australia.

Mrs Hawkes said: “I think it was disbelief to begin with because we were all very proud. It’s a strange thing because it’s not like passing an exam where you have prepared for it and you hope to pass, it’s something unexpected.

"It is a great honour that someone would put it [my name] forward.

“Besides the fact it is a special thing, life just goes on, doesn’t it? The job I do, that’s the job I’m doing and I continue doing it as well as I can.

“It really, except for the fact that it’s a very special thing to have happened, doesn’t change how I do things and hopefully I will do them with the same dedication I have always done them.”

A mass was held to celebrate while schoolchildren and parents wrote their well wishes onto a card.

People are said to be ‘extremely proud’ of the former nurse after hearing of the news.

Asked what has helped contribute to her career since she arrived in England, she added: “I suppose I’ve always believed that every child has the right to access the best education they can possibly have.

“I also believe that the school is like one big family and we all contribute to that school family, and I don’t just mean academically but socially, we look after everyone in it. Including the parents and those who need it, and it’s just giving everyone the opportunities to provide for life. That’s part of it, looking after others, really that’s what it’s about.

“I always think that I am very fortunate that I do a job that I love, I do a job that has great rewards. I don’t mean material rewards but rewards in seeing a difference.”