Headteacher awarded OBE

Chris Upton, Headteacher of Tarleton Community Primary School, has been made an OBE in the King’s New Year’s Honours list for 2023.

Chris has been honoured for services to Education following the daunting task of leading his primary school community in the aftermath of a terror attack and his subsequent work to ensure other educational establishments are better supported in such difficult times.

Sadly, in 2017, the death of a pupil and the youngest victim of the Manchester Arena Attack, Saffie-Rose Roussos, deeply affected the community of Tarleton Community Primary School.  Chris led his dedicated team of professionals to navigate the grief and trauma over a sustained period, including more recently, the Manchester Arena Inquiry to ensure that everyone connected to the school was fully supported, especially the children in his care.

Chris Upton, on receiving his OBE, said: "When I received the letter a month ago, I was very shocked and it has taken a while to sink in.  I am immensely honoured and proud to receive it, not only for myself, but for all those connected with our school.  Tarleton Community Primary is a special place to be and I want to pay tribute to our staff, children, parents and the communities of the villages of Tarleton and Hesketh Bank in pulling together in the darkest of times to ensure we did the best for our children.  It is fantastic to see our children are now flourishing at high school."

Chris went onto make a number of recommendations to the Home Office and Department for Education from his lived experiences to support leader’s preparedness following a terror attack, something that has developed the national strategy in this area.  He has shared learning through giving talks and writing a blog on the Home Office’s Educate Against Hate website.

In addition to his work, Chris released a book, ‘Searching for the Sparkle: A School’s Journey of Recovery’ to share learning with others and set up a charity, The Sparkle Bean Trust ( for the profits to go to.  The charity supports primary schools across the UK by sharing learning and providing small grants following the sudden death of a pupil.

Dr Andrea Brooks, Chair of Governors, said: "This is very well deserved due to all of Chris’ hard work and commitment to the children and the education sector in general.  We are all delighted for him."