THE headmistress of Moreton Hall near Oswestry has received a top award for her significant contributions to education and teaching excellence.

Sylvia Grace, 82, has been awarded with the prestigious Tes Lifetime Achievement in a virtual ceremony on Friday, which proved to be an exceptional day for Moreton Hall as the school was also named Tes Boarding School of the Year 2021.

In a career in education that spans nearly seven decades, Sylvia has served as head of Moreton Prep, as well as deputy head at several schools.

Sylvia also founded the Arden School in north Wales and grew it into a thriving, academically rigorous and nurturing, close-knit community.

George Budd, principal at Moreton Hall, praised Sylvia's lifetime of achievement.

"Sylvia's lifetime of achievement in education truly is extraordinary," said George.

"She exemplifies teaching excellence by setting a high standard and enabling everyone to reach it.

"She is revered by generations of pupils, parents and staff and is the champion of every young person in her care.

"This award is richly deserved."

Sylvia has tried to retire at least four times, but was lured back to continue her distinguished career.

Most recently, she served as acting head of Moreton Prep, stepping down from the role in April with the appointment of John Bond.

Through one of education's most turbulent periods she has been at school seven days a week.

Undaunted that her age places her in a high-risk category, she insisted on working all the overnight duties herself at 82 years of age.

Since winning the award, Sylvia continues to teach and has moved to become acting housemistress.

Carolyn Tilley, vice principal at Moreton Hall, added: "In her incredible career, Sylvia has had the ability to discover a talent in every child she has taught.

"Her patience and kindness to both pupils and staff is something that we can all learn from and aspire to."

The award was presented on Friday during the Tes Independent School Awards, which were held online for the second year due to the pandemic.

The honour was a surprise to Sylvia, who learned of her award as she gathered with colleagues to celebrate Moreton Hall being shortlisted as Boarding School of the Year and for the Creativity Award.

Commenting on her time at Moreton Hall and her teaching career Sylvia said: “I try to value every pupil.

"Every pupil has something to offer.

"With praise and support, every pupil will achieve.

"I always tried to do my best for every child and get them as prepared as I possibly could for their next school.

"I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed every day of my career.”