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Sunday, 12 March 2017 23:14

University of Roehampton: Calling all teachers holding Certificates of Education. Also Gipsy Hill and Kingston Polytec

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 Update June 2020. Certificate of Education holders from Gipsy Hill College and Kingston Poytechnic are also being recognised with Honorary degrees. For further information, go to here. At the time of this update, the article has been read 8964 times, showing the high level of interest. 

In a brilliant initiative the University of Roehampton, which was formed out of an amalgamation of the four Colleges for Teacher Education Digby Stuart, Froebel, Southlands and Whitelands Colleges, has decided to award all traceable holders of Certificates in Education awarded before 1980, with an Honorary Degree:  Bachelor of Education 'Honoris Causa'. The application procedure is explained here and applications need to be submitted by Friday 24th March. If you know of anyone who may qualify, please pass the following details onto them.

Roehampton University 2 

UPDATE 25 March: This event has unsurprisingly proved so popular that tickets were sold out even before the closing date of 24th March, with none available for graduates' guests. 


On 15th May 2017 the University of Roehampton is hosting an Honorary Degree Ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall. All former students from Digby Stuart, Froebel, Southlands and Whitelands Colleges, who were awarded a Certificate in Education before 1980, are invited to receive an Honorary Degree in recognition of the work required to gain this certificate and subsequent services to education.

The Certificate of Education was a qualification required for non-degree holders to become teachers, but was phased out in the early 1980s when the law required all trainee teachers to train via Bachelor of Education degrees or another graduate qualification followed by a post-graduate course, in order to provide a higher professionalism with an improved status for teachers. Until then the Certificate in Education was the norm for primary school teachers, but was also earned by many secondary teachers as an alternative to a degree topped up by a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (I qualified without any training, becoming a teacher in the first year of England's first Sixth Form College at a time when there was a national shortage of mathematicians joining the profession, although I subsequently passed my Post Graduate Certificate).
The four Colleges of Education came together in 1975 to form the Roehampton Institute of Higher Education, which took university status in 2000. It still enjoys a strong reputation for education. This initiative is a powerful acknowledgement of the high quality of the original Certificate of Education that prepared the large majority of primary school teachers in this country.
Conclusion and Action
I have looked, but have not found any other University going down this route, but may simply have missed them.

I now know of six career teachers (including my wife who attended Whitelands from 1964-1967) who are all thrilled with this belated recognition of their service to education, and are also looking forward to a reunion on the day. The dual purpose of this article is both to encourage readers who know of other teachers or retired teachers entitled to the Honorary Degree, to be awarded at the Ceremony for the Conferment of Honorary Degrees at the Royal Festival Hall to make them aware of it, but also to commend the concept to other relevant institutions. 

Read 10385 times Last modified on Saturday, 06 June 2020 18:30


  • Comment Link Wednesday, 17 June 2020 18:30 posted by Maureen Avery

    I was at Gypsy Hill from 1961 to 1964. Have just heard from a fellow student about the awarding of honorary degrees. How do I get further information PETER: Have you thought of looking at the link in the article?

  • Comment Link Sunday, 09 February 2020 20:21 posted by Jacqueline Robinson

    I received a certificate of education in 1977. Is it still possible to obtain an honorary degree?
    Many thanks
    Jacqueline Robinson PETER: As always see my response to previous comments.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 23 July 2019 23:06 posted by Sharon Rudolph

    I do hope that AM Butement’s 94 yr old Father is able to be awarded a degree after his dedicated service to education.

    I studied at the Sedgley Park College of Education, in Prestwich ( the sister college to Hopwood Hall. ) 1966-1969 receiving a Cert. of Education

    I would love to know if Manchester University would award it’s past students from the 1960’s a degree.
    Thank you PETER: As repeated several times below, please take the trouble to see my responses to previous answers, but in the interests of clarity. I have no status in such matters and do not know any answers unless someone for whom I have troubled to acknowledge their reply, lets me know.

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 16 July 2019 16:19 posted by Judy

    Who should I contact regarding this?
    I realise this is a blog so not going to Froebel.
    Has anyone who didn’t hear from them & therefore didn’t receive a degree been directly in touch?
    Please share advice on this.
    Thank you. MERE BLOG WRITER: If you trouble to read previous comments as advised in my previous answer. You will find the advice you seek.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 14 July 2019 17:13 posted by Judy Weddle (nee Harris)

    I have only just discovered this qualified from Whitelands 1976.
    I would love to have my teacher’s certificate converted to a degree. Will this be repeated?
    Although I’m now 66 I am still teaching as a peripatetic.
    Please advise. I only knew about this from a friend who has just been awarded her degree from another college and so I looked up Froebel. I studied at the LABAN Centre followed by Whitelands. My mother still lives at the address that records should have but we did not receive notification.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Kind regards
    Judith Harris. PETER: Please see answers in previous comments. Item has now attracted 7,000 hits, reflecting the high level of interest and large number of enquiries to me. Sadly, although I keep asking and have drawn this matter to the attention of numerous Cert Ed holders, NOT ONE has bothered to get back to me.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 16 May 2019 09:20 posted by Mary Armstrong

    I have only just heard about this May 2019 , having qualified from Digby Stuart in1966 . I wish for further details and believe if others have been awarded the honorary degree then all other qualifiers should still be eligible for the award PETER: I have no status in this matter and suggest you contact the University to find out if the option is still there. Please let me know the result so that I can advise others who come down this route.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 26 September 2018 14:18 posted by Ann Smith

    I was a student at Whitelands College from 1966-1969, gaining a Cert.Ed in Primary Education. Am I still eligible to claim an Honorary B.Ed?
    I have recently found out about this from a friend and would like to know how to claim. PETER: I am afraid I only wrote the article (now been visited over 5000 times reflecting the interest in the subject) about last year's event, and have no further information. I suggest you contact the University of Roehampton to find out if the offer is still open. It would be good if you could report your findings back here. Sadly, although I think it was a brilliant initiative I have heard of no one else picking it up. Or have they?

  • Comment Link Tuesday, 04 September 2018 19:08 posted by Jennifer

    Dear Peter,
    In your reply to Margaret you mention that a Cert Ed is still a recognised qualification. Is there a body or institution that can provide this confirmation? Thanks for your post. Best wishes, Jennifer Leask. PETER: The Teacher Regulation Agency should be the appropriate body to ask. My assertion was based on the assumption that teachers with a Cert Ed would not lose their right to teach.

  • Comment Link Wednesday, 30 May 2018 09:09 posted by Margaret Wright

    I attended Maria Assumpta College from 1969 until 1972 and subsequently went on to teach for 40 years. I had two elderly parents to help support and so although I would have liked to take time for further studies I was unable to and by the time both my parents passed away I had a mortgage and was looking towards my own retirement. I would love to know what I can to update my qualification and experience to gain degree status. Please can you suggest a course of action. I am now 71 but I would love to return to teaching on a part time basis. I am still active and interested. PETER: Dear Margaret, you remain a qualified teacher, as your Cert Ed is still recognised. I am afraid I know nothing about mature qualifications; not my field Sorry See my responses to comments below, especially the Maria Assumpta one.

  • Comment Link Monday, 28 May 2018 12:20 posted by Maureen Jeanne Glynn


    Will this initiative be repeated next year?

    I only heard about it recently and have missed the deadline this year. PETER: Afraid I don't know the answer. If you contact the University and post the response here this would be very helpful to the many people for whom this turns out to be the first port of call, although the article is not really part of the normal activity.

  • Comment Link Thursday, 19 April 2018 22:50 posted by Maggie Wheeler

    My friends and I qualified back in 1966 at Maria Assumpta College in Kensington. Our qualifications were awarded by ULIESA. Do you know whether there is a way by which we can lobby for the same recognition as yourselves? I appreciate that each institution is self governing but am wondering how the process was started and by whom. If you can cast any light on this I would be most grateful. PETER: Sorry, not actually my field at all , apart from my personal interest in this institution. but go for it and feel free to quote Roehampton. How sad it would be if they remained alone in this splendid initiative.

  • Comment Link Friday, 09 June 2017 09:55 posted by Sue de Nym

    It is a shame it is only an honorary degree. Those of us who did a three year Cert.Ed., and now have well over 30 years of full-time teaching experience surely qualify for a full B.Ed. Many have had to achieve degrees (and higher degrees) whilst working full time in order to compensate for their lowly Cert. Ed.
    Honorary degrees don't mean anything and this is a rather condescending move. PETER: Thank you for the comment but I think I disagree. I believe it is a great acknowledgement of something that was not possible at the time. I can assure you that feedback from the Roehampton Degree awards, to the 2000 graduates out of 5000 degrees awarded who were able to attend, appeared wholly positive. Presumably those who thought like you did not go through the process. I think there would be difficulties in awarding a full degree without any additional study! The enormous level of enthusiasm for the initiative should encourage other institutions to follow suit.

  • Comment Link Friday, 19 May 2017 21:53 posted by Sheila Brown

    I believe Roehampton University initiated this brilliant idea as part of their 175 anniversary celebrations.

  • Comment Link Sunday, 14 May 2017 23:30 posted by Shirley Mitchell

    Peter, Thank you so much for this wonderful article. I was contacted by a college friend who read it; and now there are four of us meeting up tomorrow for the first time in over forty years. It is going to be a great day, the old photos are ready to be shown off, along with the grandchildren. PETER: My pleasure. You may even bump into my wife, Veronica, nee Constable, from Whitelands, and colleagues she has not seen for 50 years!

  • Comment Link Sunday, 14 May 2017 19:05 posted by Mary Chiappe

    I trained at Digby Stuart from 1959-1961 and have a Certificate of Education in English and subsidiary Art. I would like to apply for an honorary degree. How can I apply for this - and is it possible to apply after May 15th - tomorrow! PETER: Sorry, I have no official standing, however I know of several (young in heart) ladies who were unable to attend who are to be awarded certificates, I think by post. I suggest you contact the University at the address in the letter.

  • Comment Link Friday, 24 March 2017 15:08 posted by Anne Marie Butement

    This is wonderful!
    My Father, aged 94, qualified post war studying at Hopwood Hall. Over many decades he devoted himself to Primary Education, being Headteacher at two schools. One school was in Lancashire and the other was in Dorset.
    He has always wished that he had been awarded a degree.
    Please is there any way that teachers with Cert. Eds who did not attend the four named colleges could apply to a central address for degree status?
    It would give my own Father such pleasure? I feel sure that there are many dedicated people like him.
    Thank you. PETER: This is solely a Roehampton initiative. Its success should encourage others to follow suit. However each university is independent and can decide for itself.

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