Press Office

Honorary education degree

Teaching alumni receive honorary degrees

Published on: 13 October 2023

Almost 200 people who qualified as teachers before 1970 have been recognised in a special ceremony.

Bachelor of Education

The honorands all aged in their 70s and above, were awarded honorary Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degrees at the event which was held in the University’s King’s Hall. They had gained their teaching qualifications from Newcastle University partner colleges and due to regulations at the time, were unable to obtain a degree. They have gone on to educate people all around the world.

A group of 126 graduates from Northumberland College of Education, Kenton Lodge College of Education, City of Newcastle upon Tyne College of Education, Northern Counties College of Education and St Mary’s College of the Sacred Heart, headed to campus for the ceremony and  a further 67 people who could not attend will receive their honorary degree by post.

The student orator was former headteacher Gordon Wealleans, who first approached the University with the idea of the honorary degree ceremony. He gained his Certificate of Teaching from Northumberland College in 1968. He attended the event with his wife Barbara who he met while studying and who also received an honorary degree.

In his speech he paid tribute to their chosen profession. "We all remember teachers or tutors whose influence went way beyond the content of their lessons or lectures. There are people whose influences upon us can last a lifetime," he said.

Honorands at the ceremony

Work and dedication

Professor Julie Morris, Head of the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences said: “We are delighted to be able to recognise these colleagues, their achievements and their contribution to education and the teaching profession.

“The University has a long tradition of teacher education, of which the graduates celebrated today are an important part. Making a difference in education, in children and young people’s lives is at the heart of what we do and of the celebration today.”

Following the graduation ceremony alumni and their guests were welcomed to a reception where they could reconnect with former classmates and share memories of their time training for their Certificate of Teaching.

Newcastle University registrar Dr Colin Campbell, said: “The Honorary B.Ed. award recognises the work and dedication of alumni who have made a significant impact in the teaching profession across the region and beyond.

“Today’s event has been a chance to celebrate the lifelong achievements of graduates who were taught at partner colleges in the late 1960s. In preparing for the ceremony, I’ve been struck by the amazing stories of former students who have gone on to make such a difference to so many lives.”

Newcastle University has a proud history of learning and innovation and has been offering teacher training for more than 130 years. The first 20 ‘pupil teachers’ enrolled at Newcastle’s College of Science in 1890, and Newcastle’s training centre was among the first six established in England.

Today, the School of Education offers a wide variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses and is ranked in the Top 100 Education training providers in the world by the QS World University Rankings (2022).



Latest News