Andrew Day, Head Teacher at The Unicorn School, Abingdon, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours List 2024. He is receiving the honour in recognition of his services to education.
Mr Day joined The Unicorn School in 2015 as Head Teacher and is leading the way in the education for neurodiverse students with learning difficulties. Before this, he was Head of Calder House School in Bath, where he transformed a “Good” school into an “Outstanding” school in all seven areas.
Mr Day said: “I am truly honoured to receive this award, but I share it with all the inspirational, highly skilled, and dedicated teachers and staff at The Unicorn School, who transform the lives of our students daily.
“When students come to us it is often after a challenging period where their learning difficulties are often exasperated due to elevated levels of anxiety experienced from struggling to cope with large class sizes and insufficient one to one provision.
“Due to the specialist knowledge, experience and understanding of our staff we can provide them with an environment in which they feel safe and understood.”
He added: “We know that our students learn differently, so we teach differently, yet we do it in a way that no one is made to feel different.”
Mr Day studied at Cardiff Met University and graduated with a Bachelor of Education in 1992. He has also taught at Bristol Grammar Lower School and was the academic lead for Hornsby House School, Wycliffe Preparatory School and Cheltenham College Preparatory School.
The Unicorn School has specialised for the last 30 years in helping children with neurodiversity, including dyslexia, dyspraxia, and speech and language issues, with many students showing autism as a secondary challenge.
Due to a growing demand for specialist education, the school has recently exchanged contracts to buy a second building, aiming to double its pupil numbers from 120 to 240 over the next few years.
The Unicorn currently accepts children aged between 7 and 16, and they hope the new building will enable them to offer a 6th-form facility in due course.