THE chairman of governors at a Penarth school has received an MBE for services to special needs education in Wales and England.

Tim Exell, 69, was governor at the former Ashgrove School, which catered for children with autism.

He then became chair of Governors of the £45 million Ysgol y Deri which opened in 2014 and was formed from the merger of Ashgrove and two other schools and helped manage this transition.

Mr Exell said: "I am thrilled and it also recognised the people I have worked with.

"I am pleased for them as well."

Mr Exell started working at a school in Bridgend before moving on to deputy headteacher roles in Cheshire and Buckinghamshire.

In 2000 he became involved with a Manchester based charity, Seashell Trust, which provides education and care for children and young people with severe and complex neuro-disabilities

He provided effective support to the board and senior management in moving the trust forward and skilfully supported staff to rebuild their confidence.

In 2008 he became director of the overall charity, chair of governors of both the Royal School and Royal College (RS&C) and is now president.

He said: "I wanted to do something in Ogmore and Penarth.

"I chaired the appointment panel for Chris Britten and worked on the amalgamation of the schools."

He chaired the temporary body which was set up to manage the transition.

Mr Exell added: "The authority were excellent in working with the governors.

"It wasn't without its difficulties as we were bringing three different but three excellent schools together.

"It was a challenge which the staff took up."

Mr Exell said that when he started, special needs education was different to the mainstream.

"The change I have seen is that special needs education has been brought into schools that are special," he said.

He wanted to see education for everyone so that students could use the skills they learned in the workplace.

"Ysgol y Deri has been very successful," he added.

He praised the dedication of the staff in helping to make this happen for the pupils and said he wanted there to be a chance for everyone.

Speaking about the MBE he said: "This is as much for the people I have worked with and the pupils."

He currently supports the local authority in the Vale sitting on the school budget forum and other committees and works with the health board to redefine health services into special needs education schools across south Wales.

Cllr Bob Penrose, Vale of Glamorgan council cabinet member for Learning and culture, said: "Tim’s honour is richly deserved and comes after an influential career that has seen him make a major contribution to children’s education across the country.

"After spells working in Bridgend, Cheshire and Buckinghamshire, since 2004 Tim has been a governor of schools in the Vale that cater for children with special educational needs.

"During this period, he helped oversee the merger of Maes Dyfan, Ysgol Erw’r Delyn and Ashgrove School to form Ysgol y Deri, which has become a shining light among schools of its type.

"Much of that success has been down to Tim’s sustained commitment and effort, and I’d like to offer him the warmest of congratulations on this prestigious recognition."