An educationalist who has risen to the top of her profession after finding herself pregnant and homeless at 16 has spoken of her pride at being made an MBE.

Sacha Corcoran is set to become the principal of the DV8 Academy, which is due to open in Waltham Forest and will train 16 to 19 year olds for careers in the creative industries.

The single mother-of-two, who is currently deputy director at City and Islington College, has been honoured for her contribution to education in the New Year’s Honours List.

The 43-year-old said: “It’s a huge honour for both me and the sector.

“Education is fundamental for society and young people and having that recognised at the highest level is hugely humbling because you’re standing up against people who are maybe film stars.”

Ms Corcoran lives in Southgate and has worked in education since 1994.

In 2007 she was named Britain’s most exceptional working mother.

Speaking of her difficulties, she said: “I had a very difficult beginning.

“I found myself homeless and pregnant with my son at 16.

“I was probably not your traditional entrant into working in education but I understand why re-engaging in education is so important, which I think gives me some credibility.

“I get what it’s like to come up against some of these challenges.”

She began her education career working for the Football Association, teaching young footballers, including John Terry.

And now she is looking forward to a new challenge in Walthamstow.

“I’m hugely excited and it’s a huge opportunity for the borough to be known for world-class training,” she said.

The academy is due to open in September and an announcement on its location has yet to be made.