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Dr David Williams (1930-2009)

Areas of Interest

Education, Alumni

Honorary Award

Honorary Fellow, 2000


As Head of Sixth Form at Bungay High School, David Williams was co-designer and supporter of the APU-Compact scheme, and developer of the APU-Team Project scheme. These innovative programmes enabled sixth-form pupils to carry out research projects alongside their academic studies and to gain recognition from this University. Throughout his time at Bungay, David acted as a special ambassador for our University, also serving on our Regional Awards Committee.

In 2000 Dr David Williams was made an Honorary Fellow of our University.


"The Senate of Anglia Polytechnic University has great pleasure in recommending the award of an Honorary Fellowship of the University to Dr David Williams, recently retired Head of Sixth Form at Bungay High School and special ambassador for this University in the East Anglia region.

This award is made in recognition of his robust support of the APU-Compact scheme, co-developer of the APU Team Research Project scheme, being a great encouragement to young people to seek higher education and serving as a member of the University's Regional Awards Committee.

The APU-Compact scheme was developed in 1996 in secondary schools to "increase the aspirations of students for higher education" to widen access to higher education, in fact. It has spread to schools in Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. At the highest (gold) level of this scheme there is a focus on the six key skills of improving learning performance, working with others, information technology, problem solving, application of number and communications; truly the pivotal transferable skills of today's work environment.

In the Team Research Project scheme, teams of sixth formers collaborate on an approved project which they have selected and on which they research and report. Up to 75 hours of research activity culminates in a formal presentation. The whole project is designed, implemented, managed and presented upon, by the team. Thus these events provide enormous opportunity for leadership, project planning, management, organization and presentational skills, including the preparation of visual or other aids, public speaking etc. A number of these projects have investigated real life issues of today, like: the paucity of women in football crowds, peer group pressures and role models, the power of brand names in purchasing, violence on television and the watershed.

Over the last twenty five years, David, has done great work for APU and for the youth of the region in his capacity as Head of Sixth form at Bungay High School. However, when he first moved to the area from Llandudno in North Wales with his wife, Gill, who is now a local GP, he had anticipated a relatively short stay in East Anglia. But David is, sadly these days, one of a rare breed of teachers who was always there for those who needed or wanted him and was caught up in a lifetime's commitment to being, what one might call, a true teacher. Typical of this was the young woman to whom he taught A-level Religious Studies in his, and her, spare time. She went on to gain a first class honours degree in this field and now lives with her husband and children in Canada, hoping to resume academic studies when the family situation permits. This would never have happened without David's (and the student's) commitment. Although, bearing in mind what has happened to schoolteachers' professional lives over the past few years, with their increasing bureaucratic burden, it is questionable as to whether, today, such commitment as David's would be able to be used to the same benefit of students.

As the best sort of traditionalist in making himself available to students, in this way, David is also traditional in his teacher/student relationships. He did not see himself either as an uncle or elder brother figure to his students, but as the teacher. This stance not only provides the ideal teaching/learning environment in school, but engenders a mutual respect in the classroom, the lack of which may well explain the so-called modern "we're all pals together" attitude which has been accompanied by an increasing deterioration in classroom behaviour and led to a crisis in the teaching profession.

David is the personification of the best of teachers we all knew at school, available, encouraging and though unassuming, a source of great wisdom. He is committed to helping his students maximize their talents and, through his collaboration with APU, has gone the extra mile to create in sixth formers around the region, a climate of anticipation of higher education that they may bring their natural gifts to fruition, enjoy fulfilled lives and play a meaningful role in today's society.

It is for these reasons, therefore, that I invite you, Vice-Chancellor, to confer on Dr David Williams, an Honorary Fellowship of this University."