Educating Essex star receives honorary degree

Influential headteacher Vic Goddard received the award of Honorary Doctor of Education from Anglia Ruskin University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Iain Martin, during a graduation ceremony at Chelmsford Cathedral yesterday afternoon (MON 8 OCT)

Vic Goddard is Principal of Passmores Academy in Harlow, and one of the stars of the 2011 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.

In September 2001, Vic arrived at what is now Passmores Academy. And it was here that he found somewhat reluctant fame – as the passionate and straight-talking Principal in Channel 4’s Educating Essex, which captured the attention of around 2 million viewers for each of the seven episodes.

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.”

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. And in the introduction, Vic explains that he wrote the book because he wanted to encourage more teachers to become leaders.

Professor Martin said: “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 and Teaching students.”