Professor given MBE for services to education

Published: 3 January 2023 at 12:00

Professor Catherine Lee

Anglia Ruskin’s Catherine Lee is recognised in King’s New Year’s Honours List

A professor at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) who has dedicated her career to promoting inclusivity in education has been given an MBE in King Charles’ first New Year Honours List.

Professor Catherine Lee, who is Deputy Dean for Learning and Teaching and the Student Experience in the Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care at ARU, has received the award of Member of the British Empire for services to equality in education.

Professor Lee, who is also a National Teaching Fellow, is a former school teacher, and has published books on equality, diversity and inclusion in education.

Professor Lee said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled to receive an MBE in the King’s first New Year’s Honours List. After years of teaching in schools under the homophobic Section 28 law, I feel extremely privileged to have spent the last decade at ARU where, alongside incredible friends and colleagues, I have been able to undertake work in pursuit of greater inclusion in education. 

“At ARU, I have been mentored by some inspirational people who have taught me a great deal and have been exceptional role models. I am so very grateful to them for all their support.

“As 2023 marks the 20-year anniversary of the repeal of Section 28, this honour is a timely tribute, not just to me, but to all the teachers and students who were silenced under this law.

Professor Lee was an advisor on the film Blue Jean, which told the story of a gay teacher working in a UK school during the time of the Section 28 legislation, which banned teachers from advocating same-sex relationships. The film was partly based on her own experiences of being a teacher during the late 1980s when the legislation was introduced.

Professor Lee added:

“In September 2022, I was fortunate to go to the Venice film festival for the world premiere of Blue Jean. I didn’t expect anything to top that, but hearing about this honour was the perfect way to end an unforgettable year.”