STUDENTS and staff at the School for Inspiring Talents will be celebrating the start of 2023 with the news that their proprietor, Mark Escott, has been recognised in the King’s first New Year’s Honours list.

Mark founded the School for Inspiring Talents in 2014, alongside Judith Johnson and Dave Strudwick. Mark has been awarded the Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for his commitment to education.

In 2014 he set up School for Inspiring Talents, an independent day school where specialist educational, therapeutic and support staff work together to create a nurturing environment, working with young people and families who have experienced trauma.

The school now has sites in Newton Abbot and Ashburton, supporting nearly 70 children who travel from areas across South Devon to attend the specialist provision, including Plymouth, Ivybridge, Exeter, Torbay and Dartmoor.

Mark, who lives in Exeter, says: ‘I feel quite humbled by this news – it’s already been a huge journey for me, from being a troubled teenager and school drop-out to being the co-founder of a school that actively supports children who have experienced trauma and gives them chances to thrive.

‘I’m looking forward to sharing this with my own children, but also with the students at the School; to show them you really can achieve more than you ever thought possible.’

Life Chance Group’s CEO, Hannah Moon says: ‘Everyone here at Life Chance and School for Inspiring Talents will be delighted by this news; it is well-deserved recognition for Mark, who has dedicated so much time and enthusiasm to creating a nurturing school environment that enables children to get the very best support and opportunities, helping young people who, like Mark, were in danger of slipping through the net of mainstream education.’

The full list of Devon recipients is:

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire

Dr Marcus Andrew Samuel, lately chief executive of North Sea Transition Authority. For services to the energy sector.

Officers of the Order of the British Empire

Dr Ross Hemingway, Civilian Medical Practitioner, Commando Training Centre Royal Marines. For services to the Royal Marines. Exeter.

Members of the Order of the British Empire

Paulin Anne Barker, founder of the Devon and Cornwall Wild Swimming. From Plymouth. For services to swimming in south West England.

Julie Hawker, joint Chief Executive Officer, Cosmic. For services to the economy. From Exeter.

Dr Keith Hiscock, of Plymouth, a marine biologist for services to marine conservation.

Nicholas John Millington, of Exmouth, director Safety Task Force, Network Rail. Awarded for services to the railway and to the NHS during Covid-19.

Mark Victor Peter Ruston, of Torquay, an Inspector in the Devon and Cornwall Police, for services to policing.

Richard Charles Barrington Stevens, of Plymouth, managing director of Go South West for services to transport and to the community of Plymouth.

Medallists of the Order of the British Empire

Angela Marie Bennett, of Plymouth, for voluntary service to the community in Plymouth.

Andrea Dawn Corrie, of Tiverton, a water safety campaigner, for services to water safety on the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

Anthony Marc Cussen, of Plymouth, for services to charity and to the community in Plymouth.

Mark Clive Escott, of Exeter, for services to education in the South West.

Kerry Ann James, of Plymouth. Foster carer, Plymouth City Council, for services to fostering.

The Reverend Innocent Nathan Kiyaga, of Torquay. Chair of the Devon and Cornwall Scrutiny Panel, School Chaplain, St Cuthbert Mayne School, and Area Dean, Church of England, Torbay. For services to the community in Devon and Cornwall.

Alison Jane Kohler, of Newton Abbot, lately director of Conservation and Communities, at the Dartmoor National Park. For services to conservation in Devon.

Julia Margaret Meredith, of Budleigh Salterton, for services to the community in Budleigh Salterton, Exeter and East Devon.

Zoe Elizabeth Sayers, from Plymouth, for services to the community in Kent during Covid-19.

Marilyn (Marie) Jane Whitehead, of Dawlish, for services to the community in Dawlish.