Press Release: Former Chief Inspector of Schools to receive Honorary Degree

4 May 2011

Professor Chris Woodhead, former Chief Inspector of Schools will receive an honorary degree from the University of Buckingham on Friday 6 May 2011.

This is the first time in the University’s history that it has given an honorary degree to a member of staff in a tribute to their distinction.

Vice-Chancellor Terence Kealey said:  “The person who has done most to improve public education since the abolition of the grammar schools has been Chris Woodhead.  When Jim Callaghan asked for a national debate on education, it was Chris Woodhead’s contribution that was the most germane.”

Professor Woodhead has worked tirelessly to raise educational standards in England and established the Department of Education at University of Buckingham in 2003, along with Professor Anthony O’Hear. They launched an innovative PGCE for trainees in the maintained and independent sector who were taught via distance learning.

Later, in 2004, Professor Woodhead became Chairman of Cognita, a company that owns and runs independent schools.

In 2005 Professor Chris Woodhead said: ‘When I was offered the opportunity to set up a school of Education at Buckingham, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.  Here was a chance to create a teacher training course which was rooted in the practicalities of the craft of the classroom, which eschewed dubious and irrelevant theory, and which offered students a chance to step back and reflect on the vacuous orthodoxies of the day.”

Under Professor Woodhead the PGCE course grew, from just 12 students back in 2003 to its current number of 200.

Professor Woodhead has always been strongly committed to the view that the training of teachers is best based on practical work in good schools, supplemented by relevant academic study into the philosophy and practice of education.

Peter Ireland, Head of the Department of Education said: “Chris Woodhead is a great man and a great champion of the cause of education. His famous insistence on school and teacher accountability is actually powerful evidence, not only of his belief in the importance of education, but also of his deep respect for the role of the teacher.”

The University of Buckingham MEd in Educational Leadership, which he set up 3 years ago is predicated upon the idea that the most important thing that head teachers do, is to secure high quality teaching and learning through the nurturing of high quality teachers.

Chris Woodhead is the Lord Kalms Professor of Education at the University of Buckingham and will have the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa conferred upon him.


Please contact Lucy Hodges at the University of Buckingham Publicity Office for further details:
+44 (0)1280 820115 / +44 (0)1280 820 213