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FE Sector pays its respects on the passing of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II


With the announcement of the sad passing of the Queen on the 8th September 2022, the FE Sector pays their respects to Queen Elizabeth II.

The UK’s longest-reigning monarch died peacefully at Balmoral Castle on Thursday afternoon at the age of 96.

Sector Response

Tom Bewick, Chief executive of the Federation of Awarding Bodies

Tom Bewick, Chief Executive of the Federation of Awarding Bodies said:

“The passing of the Queen signals the end of an era. The Federation of Awarding Bodies, my employer, is deeply saddened and expresses its sincere condolences to the Royal Family.

“We are mourning more than just the death of a head of state. And grief in the end is a personal emotion which will be experienced in different ways. We need to respect that fact and give people the space to reflect in their own way.

“For those in the FE sector who came into contact with the late sovereign – and there are many – will have their own unique stories to tell. I feel fortunate to have met Queen Elizabeth on a few occasions, attending functions at Buckingham palace, Clarence House and Windsor.

“For all my life she has been the steadfast continuity that has provided a quiet sense of comfort and security. We got on with our lives in the safe knowledge of her wisdom being called upon and being ever present at the state’s helm. It’s astonishing that she knew Winston Churchill as prime minister and only a few days ago, she appointed her fifteenth U.K head of government, in Liz Truss. 

“Monarchy can look like a very strange system to those on the outside. But it is popular in this country because of what, in a very modern sense, it now represents, and what the Queen was able to turn it into: an indispensable part of the UK’s unwritten constitution. Like the roots of an old oak tree, the monarch connects our ancestors, in one continuous island and multicultural story – going as far back as King Alfred the Great (AD 871-899). 

“The Royal Family and the constitutional role they play in supporting a Parliamentary democracy is also, in my view, the reason why we have never elected extremists into office. We had a revolution of course in the 1640s – for eleven years existing briefly as a republic. But in the end it was the magic and majesty of the Crown and what it symbolised for the common people of this realm that led to its restoration. 

“I cannot think of a sovereign in the whole of history that has peacefully transitioned a nation from ruling an imperial empire where the sun never set, into a commonwealth of equal nations. In her reign she replaced the instruments of colonial ambition with cultural diversity and mutual respect. She invented the soft power that today defines Britain’s true place in the world.

“We shall miss her.

“Long live The King.”

Jane Hickie, Chief Executive, AELP

Jane Hickie, AELP Chief Executive, said:

“We are saddened to hear that Her Majesty The Queen has passed away. To spend over 70 years as the monarch is a remarkable achievement. She selflessly carried out her duties in representing the United Kingdom throughout the world. We send our deepest condolences to her friends and family.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive, Association of Colleges

David Hughes, AoC Chief Executive said:

“The whole FE sector will want to join with me in paying tribute to Her Majesty The Queen for her many years of service to our country. The news of the passing of The Queen is something which has saddened us all. For most of us working in the sector, indeed most of us alive today, it is hard to imagine times without Queen Elizabeth on the throne. The coming days will have an emotional impact on college staff and students alike and it will be important to treat each other with compassion.”

Jenny Jarvis, Interim CEO, Education and Training Foundation said: 

“On behalf of everyone at the Education and Training Foundation and the Society of Education and Training, we offer our deepest condolences to the whole Royal Family. Her Majesty’s contribution to the nation has been unrivalled during her lifetime, and she has been a figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during a period of enormous change. The ETF wishes to place on record our appreciation for the Queen’s extraordinary life of dedicated public service.” 

Geoff Barton, General Secretary, ASCL

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said:

“The Queen’s dedication to public service has been an inspiration to children and adults alike over the past 70 years. We are deeply saddened by her death. She will be hugely missed by the nation, including all those in the world of education where many people will have fond memories of jubilee and other royal events during her reign. Through her dignity and unswerving sense of duty the Queen has set an extraordinary example to us all, and she has been a reassuring presence through many turbulent times. We pay tribute to her and we send our deepest sympathies to her family.”


Professor Steve West CBE, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol, said:

“It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her remarkable and unrivalled reign leaves an enduring legacy for the nation and our universities.

“Her Majesty was an ardent supporter of universities and of education as a force for good. Through her patronage of The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes over three decades, she celebrated and promoted the impact and benefits of higher and further education for students, communities, the economy and wider society. She also recognised the role universities play in building an understanding of different countries, cultures and the importance of global networks, exemplified by her role as patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

“Universities, students and staff will be sharing their memories of Her Majesty in the days ahead – from her visits to university campuses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland during her 70-year reign, to the many individuals working in our sector who have been recognised for their contributions through the Honours system.

“This is a sad day for our nation, and our thoughts are particularly with members of the Royal Family at this time.” 

Telford College has paid tribute to the ‘remarkable service’ of the Queen on the sad news of her death.

Graham Guest, principal and chief executive of Telford College, said:

“She gave her entire life in tireless service of our country, and was a reassuring constant for generations of people through times of challenge and change.

“She has been a continued presence in all of our lives, setting an example to others and always conducting herself with integrity, grace and poise.

“In a radio speech for her 21st birthday, she pledged her service to the people of Great Britain and the Commonwealth, and never once did she betray that promise.”

“The Queen put the ‘great’ into Britain, and everyone owes her a huge debt of gratitude.”

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) sends its deepest condolences to the Royal Family on the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, our Patron.

Professor Peter McCaffery, Vice-Chancellor of the Royal Agricultural University (RAU), said:

“Every one of us, here at the Royal Agricultural University, is deeply saddened to hear the news of the death of our Patron, Her Majesty The Queen.

“We send our deepest condolences to King Charles III and all members of the Royal family.

“Queen Elizabeth II became the Patron of what was then the Royal Agricultural College, in 1952, having taken on the patronage following the death of her father King George VI.

“We have been delighted to welcome her to our campus twice, most recently in March 1996, when she and Prince Philip visited for the College’s 150th anniversary.

“During their visit they both showed a keen interest in all areas of the College and kindly took time to meet and talk with both staff and students. Despite the wet weather, she planted a mature black poplar tree at the front of the campus to mark the College’s anniversary.

“The Union Flag at our Cirencester campus is being flown at half-mast and a Book of Condolence has been opened in the RAU Chapel for all staff, students, and alumni who wish to pay their respects.

“A letter of condolence will be sent from myself and Dame Fiona Reynolds, Chair of the RAU Governing Council, to King Charles III to express our sadness.”

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