UWE Professor Ron Ritchie awarded OBE for services to education in Bristol

Issue date: 04 January 2016


Professor Ron Ritchie has been awarded an OBE in the New Year's honours for his services to education in various roles including chairman of the Cabot Learning Federation academies trust and lately Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).

Ron began his working life as an apprentice in the aircraft industry and completed a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics at the University of Southampton. He was the first in his family to go to university. Whilst there, however, he decided to change direction and become a teacher. After qualifying at the University of Sussex he has had a 40-year career locally. He has taught in primary and secondary schools, worked as an advisory teacher in science and technology in the local authority and had a number of roles in higher education, initially at Bath Spa University and, since 2001, at UWE. He was dean of the then Faculty of Education from 2003 to 2010. He retired from UWE in August having spent the last few years as Pro Vice-Chancellor with a portfolio covering partnerships, diversity and civic engagement. He has been the University's diversity champion and helped embed equality, diversity and inclusivity in the University's strategy and practices and raised UWE's profile as an inclusive organisation locally and nationally, including supporting UWE to become the leading university in the Stonewall Workplace Index.

Ron has been a well-regarded teacher, researcher and leader. During his career he has published eight books and many articles, and gained a PhD from the University of Bath. He has been involved in international projects across four continents. He has led initiatives and professional development for school leaders over many years and has contributed to a variety of national bodies and policy fora.

UWE's partnership work with academies and trust schools has been led by Ron. He is currently the chairman of the Cabot Learning Federation, a multi-academy trust sponsored by UWE and Rolls Royce (since 2009) that is responsible for 13 local schools, many in disadvantaged areas. He was a founder member, director and past chairman of Trust in Learning Academies which is co-sponsored by UWE and City of Bristol College and is responsible for another five local schools, including Bristol's first all-through school, Bridge Learning Campus in Hartcliffe, and Orchard School Bristol, where Ron started his teaching career. Ron was recently recognised with an Honorary Degree of Doctor of the University for his academic contributions and is currently Emeritus Professor of UWE.

In 2013, Ron was invited by Bristol's elected mayor George Ferguson to chair an education and skills commission developing recommendations that are now being implemented through a major initiative to brand Bristol as a Learning City. He was given an award by the Bristol Lord Mayor this year in recognition of his contribution to children and young people in the city. He has been a director for several educational charities including Ablaze (recently awarded the Queen's award for voluntary service), Wildscreen and Vital, and is a governor of Hartpury College in Gloucestershire.

On receiving the award Ron said, "I was both thrilled and humbled: really thrilled that my work and education in the Bristol region had been recognised; humbled that it was personal recognition in a situation where any successes in which I have been involved are the result of the collective endeavour of many talented and committed teachers and other professionals."

Ron is married to Jill, previously an education adviser in Bristol. Their daughters, Anna and Kate, both work as teachers. He enjoys gardening, photography, walking and making things with his grandchildren Luca and Herbie.

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