Honorary graduates


Sir Michael Tomlinson CBE

HonDEd in recognition of his major national and international contribution to the quality of learning and teaching in schools, his vital role in the reform of the qualifications framework and his work to promote access to employment, further and higher education.

Sir Michael Tomlinson CBESir Mike is the former Chief Inspector of Schools and a key figure in shaping A-level standards as well as plans to reform qualifications for 14 to 19-year-olds.

He started his teaching career in Bulwell, Nottingham, over 40 years ago. During teaching posts in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, he led the way in developing school / industry links and in 1977 he was seconded for a period to chemical firm ICI as school / industry liaison officer.

A year later he joined Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Schools, being promoted to Staff Inspector for Training in 1984 and then to Chief Inspector (Secondary) in 1989. On the creation of OFSTED in 1992, he became Deputy Director of Inspection; Director three years later and then Chief Inspector of Schools in 2000.

By the time he retired from this post in 2002 he had set an ambitious agenda for raising school standards. Further national prominence came when he led the inquiry into A-level grading following controversy over the integrity of grades. His expertise was then sought by the government in response toe growing calls for a reform of 14-19 educational provision and qualifications. His recommendations for a more unified framework of qualifications to cover all types of learning were based on enhancing achievement, raising skills levels, widening participation and creating new and flexible educational pathways. He also contributed to international education standards, developing inspection regimes in Mexico and China and helping re-establish the school system in Kuwait after the first Gulf War.

Since 2002 Sir Mike has chaired the Learning Trust, which manages education services for Hackney. He has also served as Director of Science Year and Planet Science. He received his knighthood for services to education in January 2005.

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