UWE awards honorary degree to Valerie Davey

Issue date: 23 November 2005


Issue date: 23/11/05

The University of the West of England is awarding the honorary degree of Doctor of Education in recognition of Valerie Davey’s contribution as a local parliamentarian and more widely to the furtherance of education at both a local and national level. The honorary degree will be conferred at the Award Ceremony of the Faculty of Education on Friday 25 November at 11.30am at Bristol Cathedral.

Valerie Davey was born in Sutton, Surrey. She attended a number of primary and secondary state schools in the south and west of England, moving as her father progressed his employment. She later studied for a joint honours degree in history and theology at Birmingham University, before completing a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at London University, Institute of Education, in 1963. This was followed by a Birmingham University Master of Arts in Theology, for which she specialised in New Testament textual criticism.

In 1964, Valerie Davey began her teaching career at the Regis Comprehensive School, in Tettenhall, Wolverhampton. Following her marriage in 1966, she moved to Tanzania where she taught for two years at the Ilboru Secondary School in Arusha.

On her return to England in 1968, Valerie Davey became a resident of the City of Bristol. Whilst resident in Bristol and bringing up her three children, she joined the Labour party, became a school governor, and for one year taught ‘A Level’ religious education at Filton College of Further Education. In 1981, she was elected as a member of Avon County Council. As a councillor, she served as a member of the Education Committee and subsequently became leader of the Council Labour Group.

In 1997, Valerie Davey stood for election as a Member of Parliament (MP), representing the Labour party. She was elected MP for the Bristol West constituency, unseating a cabinet minister and produced one of her party’s best election results. She was re-elected in 2001 and continued to serve as MP until 2005. Reflecting her strong interest in education, she became Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party Education Group and served throughout her time as an MP on the House of Commons Select Committee for Education and Skills.

Regarded as an outstandingly hard-working politician, Valerie Davey established an exceptional record of attendance at the House of Commons. Whilst addressing national issues, she maintained a strong constituency focus, and led many local campaigns, including that for approval and funding for a new Redland Secondary School.

Valerie Davey has served as a member of the Board of Governors of: Bristol Polytechnic (now the University of the West of England); the Nursery Nurses College; and, on the Council and Court of the University of Bristol. She is currently Chair of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth and continues to be a member of Amnesty International. Her entry in Who’s Who lists her interests as gardens and cooking, especially marmalade.

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