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Everton Free School’s principal, Steve Baker, has been recognised by Her Majesty The Queen with an OBE for services to education.

Steve, who took up his new role at the school in September, was part of The Queen’s Birthday Honours list back in 2020 but, due to the pandemic, his award was delayed.

He was finally able to accept his honour in person at Windsor Castle on Wednesday 1 December, with HRH The Princess Royal presenting him with the award.

Everton Free School & Football College aims to offer alternative educational opportunities and experiences to young people aged 13-19. With more than 15 years’ experience in education, including a specific expertise in working with children with Social, Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties, Steve is now looking forward to enhancing and helping build students’ futures.

Prior to his time in education, Steve worked for the United Nations investigating war crimes and collecting evidence of the Bosnian genocide.

And, it was his time with the UN that inspired him to tackle hatred and help make a positive change to future generations.

Steve said: “What I experienced as part of my role with the UN had a profound effect on me, my personal principles and how I wanted to contribute towards the future.

“I wanted to make a difference and, having witnessed first-hand the devastation and the absolute worst humanity had to offer, I wanted to promote social justice and help improve the life chances of the next generation.

“I’m only a few months into my role at Everton Free School and I’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer dedication and passion from all the staff there. Every single person is committed to creating opportunities for, and supporting, our students – both in and out of school.”

In recognition of his work, Steve has previously been awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service as a member of the Remembering Srebrenica Northwest Board.

During his time in education, he has led three local schools to an ‘Outstanding’ accolade from Ofsted.

Upon collecting his OBE this week, Princess Anne spoke to Steve about his time with the UN and how he made the transition into education.

Steve added: “I’m truly honoured and so humbled to be given an OBE – it’s not something I was expecting at all. Accepting my OBE from The Princess Royal was a memorable moment – she showed real interest in my work and was keen to hear about how and why I decided to go into education.”

Next year will mark Everton Free School’s 10th anniversary, with Steve working closely with staff and governors to develop an ambitious vision for the decade.

Sir John Jones, Chair of Governors at Everton Free School, said: “We’re incredibly proud of Steve for being given such an accolade and feel very lucky to call him one of our own.

“His experience, passion and expertise is already having a huge impact on the staff and students at Everton Free School and we are looking forward to seeing what’s achieved with him at the helm.”


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