A HEADTEACHER is thrilled to have been given an OBE - and has had a rehearsal for her Buckingham Palace visit.

Sally Davies who has been head at Thriftwood School in Slades Lane, Galleywood, for 13 years was given the award in the New Year’s Honours list for services to special needs education.

Ahead of her big day at the palace, the 60-year-old who lives in Eastbourne Grove, Westcliff, had a mock medal ceremony at the school which teaches pupils with learning difficulties.

Mrs Davies was presented with a medal, crown and gown in front of the students on Monday, saying it was special to do the pretend ceremony.

“It was a lovely morning and quite emotional,” Mrs Davies said.

“The reason we did it was to make it real for our pupils and to show them that they are part of it too.

“I feel excited, very honoured and very privileged to have been given the honour as it is fantastic recognition not just for me, but for the great work done by the whole school.”

Having worked in special needs education for 25 years, Mrs Davies said she still thoroughly enjoys working in the sector and is looking forward to her palace trip.

Mrs Davies said: “The difference with special education is that you get to build longer personal relationships with the pupils and their families as some are with us from age five to 19.

“I’m really excited to be heading to Buckingham Palace in a few months, especially as it means I can go shopping for a new outfit.

“I found out about the OBE in mid-November and it was a real challenge to keep it a secret. It is the sort of information which burns a hole in your pocket.”