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UK-based Vincentian educator, Yvette Thomas has been awarded and MBE.
UK-based Vincentian educator, Yvette Thomas has been awarded and MBE.
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A former principal of Emmanuel High School Kingstown and teacher at St. Vincent Grammar School who now lives in England has been included on the  2024 Kings’ honour list for her contribution to her community and education. 

Among the names listed in this year’s celebration was that of Yvette Thomas PGCE BSc MA (Ed) MBE.

Consideration for MBE

Thomas was awarded the MBE for her contributions to education, the latest recognition in a remarkable career that has spanned 40 years.

Having joined Buckinghamshire local authority in September 2002 as a schools’ improvement adviser and Head of the Minority Ethnic and Traveller Achievement Service (METAS), she moved on to lead the Equalities in Children’s Services as well as “Prevent” (a UK-based organisation dedicated to protecting society from terrorism and radicalisation) for several years before taking up her current role as Schools Improvement Manager.

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Thomas’s passion for and commitment to community and education has earned her the MBE, but this has been a long time coming and is reflective of her steadfast work.

Contribution to education in SVG and the Caribbean 

Prior to 2002, whilst working in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, she was seconded to work with UNESCO on its flagship project of regional school twinning and was the recipient of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project network (ASPnet) award in 2000.  She has also led a UNESCO research team exploring early years education. 

Thomas served as the principal of the Emmanuel High School Kingstown as well as a teacher at the St. Vincent Grammar School and the head (of then) Form 6 Arts. Even then, she demonstrated her passion for collaboration by initiating a programme that linked the students at the sixth form with their counterparts at the Troumaca High School. 

She is fondly remembered by fellow teachers and past students whose lives she has helped to mould throughout the years. 

Many of her past students have taken up residence in the UK and are still in contact with Thomas as she continues to provide support and counselling where needed. 

Along her journey, Thomas has received support and encouragement that has buoyed her in her career. 

She gave specific thanks to Lennox John, Jeanette France along with Marcia Kirby and Lafleur John who led UNESCO work in SVG and inspired her to replicate work done in SVG with students in Buckinghamshire.

Thomas’s links to the Caribbean remain strong as she supports fundraising efforts to support schools in the country of her parents’ birth. Her achievements in SVG and the Caribbean were recognised by the Prime Minister of SVG, Ralph Gonsalves when she was invited to meet the late Queen at Buckingham Palace in 2012 as part of a celebration of education across the Commonwealth.

Continued work in the UK and the community

In the UK, before 2012 Thomas worked with colleagues nationally on developing teaching resources led by the National Strategies team. Thomas also contributed to the book “Education in the Commonwealth Caribbean” (Bloomsbury 2014).

At Buckinghamshire local authority, she has written successful bids for more than six EU projects worth around 250,000 pounds. 

These bids provided grant funding to develop educational projects across Europe providing an opportunity for  over 30 school leaders in Buckinghamshire to be able to visit their counterparts across Europe, collaborating on excellence in education methodology. 

Thomas was responsible for creating the Buckinghamshire Model United Nations which continues to grow in strength with a range of students across secondary schools in Buckinghamshire engaging in this project annually.

As many Vincentians living in the UK will attest, Thomas serves as a unifying, indefatigable force for community. On several occasions, she has hosted social gatherings at her home which goes a long way to providing some much-needed warmth and comfort to past students and Vincentians so far away from home.

In the past, Thomas has been involved at a local level as a Further education Governor at a then-local college and sat as a trustee of Wycombe Youth Action as well as “Show Racism the Red Card” SE Advisory Group.

Thomas currently sits on several local and national boards, including Wycombe Wanderers Foundation Board, Bucks and MK LEAP Board, The BBO (Bucks Beds and Oxfordshire) Maths Board, and The Linking Network.

She is a mother, a mentor, a unifying force, a community leader, a proud Vincentian and now the recipient of an MBE. 

2 replies on “Former Emmanuel High principal gets MBE in England ”

  1. Maybe you know better says:

    “Who now lives in England”. Thought her parents were Vincentians and her and her sister Yvonne were British born. They only lived in St. Vincent for a while.

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