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Vic Goddard

Vic Goddard

Areas of Interest


Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Education


Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Vic Goddard for the award of Honorary Doctor of Education.

Vic Goddard is Principal of Passmores Academy in Harlow, and one of the stars of the fly-on-the-wall documentary series, Educating Essex.

Vic grew up on a council estate in Penge, the youngest of four children, all of whom went on to become teachers. After leaving secondary school, he studied for his B Ed at the University of Chichester, and after graduating, began his career teaching PE at the Angmering School in West Sussex.

Over the next few years Vic progressed to Head of Department. He spent a brief period overseas, took his MA in Education Leadership and Management and in September 2001, arrived at what is now Passmores Academy. It was here that Vic found somewhat reluctant fame - as the passionate and straight-talking Principal in Channel 4’s Educating Essex.

For anyone not familiar with the BAFTA-winning series, filming required the insertion of 65 fixed cameras and 230 microphones into the school. Vic has since gone on record as saying he didn’t expect anyone other than a few locals to watch the show, but the series quickly captured the attention of around 2 million viewers for each of the seven episodes, peaking at over 3 million.

Despite Channel 4’s focus on the more entertaining unruly pupils, what shone through most of all was Vic’s passion for education – he vehemently refuses to accept limits on what his students and teachers are capable of. And he is driven by the mantra, 'to refuse to ever let a student fail'.

Educating Essex also grabbed the attention of the British media, with critics divided over whether the show was an exposé or a celebration of British state education. But whichever opinion you side with, there can be no doubt that Vic has used his celebrity as a force for good.

Since the show first aired, Vic has been invited to address audiences of thousands at head teacher conferences, he has spoken knowledgeably and passionately both to peers and policymakers, and to current and future teaching professionals. He has welcomed Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan as Secretary of State for Education in to Passmores, and been asked to provide evidence to the Education Select Committee.

In 2014, Vic published his book, The Best Job in the World, described as part memoir, part primer for aspiring head teachers. In the introduction, Vic explains that he wrote the book because he wanted to encourage more teachers to become leaders.

Vic Goddard is today perhaps the most famous head teacher in the UK – a powerful and passionate advocate for young people. And we are not the first university to bestow upon him an honorary degree. His alma mater, The University of Chichester, got there before us – and who can blame them? But we are very proud to formalise and deepen our relationship with Vic, by honouring his achievements.

Our University already enjoys links with Vic, and he has given freely of his time to help students at Anglia Ruskin prepare for their future careers in education.

He will be an inspirational role model for our education students.

We are delighted to welcome Vic to our Anglia Ruskin community.

Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Vic Goddard for the award of Doctor of Education, honoris causa.