Dear Ted

25th November 2005 at 00:00
Ted Wragg's untimely death earlier this month robbed teachers of a great ally, a witty and articulate spokesman and a staunch defender of the profession. Of the many tributes received by the TES, perhaps the most heartfelt came from teachers. Here are some of them 'If we put all the ministers of state for education, civil servants and politicians who have been involved in education over the past 20 years together, they would not match his contribution'

It feels as if a light has gone out. Ted has been with me for my entire educational career, since being an NQT in the grim days of Thatcher. His wit and irony have marked each stage of my own development - through teacher, deputy and head.

Debbie Adamson, Southampton

Ted truly was inspirational - and a nice bloke! What a loss to our profession. When I met him a few times over the past few years, he was never anything but kind, decent and incredibly funny. Not many people know that he has written for TV in a non-educational capacity, for Rory Bremner, whose comment on one of Ted's last books, Education, Education, Education: the best bits of Ted Wragg, sums it all up: "His humour is a tonic and an inspiration: the sort that has you gnashing your teeth with rage one minute and clutching your sides with laughter the next."

James Williams, Brighton

A real voice for teachers and pupils has been lost. A man who wasn't afraid to rattle cages and who championed those who make education work. An academic who never lost touch with teaching. Who will speak for us now?

Anna Kirby, Maidstone As part of my teacher training at Exeter I was lucky enough to have a number of lectures from Ted. I will always remember his story of meeting Mrs Thatcher when she was PM. "A-levels will change over my dead body," she apparently told him, and he allegedly replied, "That could be arranged." I will miss his witty remarks and his willingness to stand up for what is right in education.

Liz Blackshaw, Loughborough

I was genuinely shocked to hear of Ted's death - I always felt that death was just the sort of daft initiative from on high that Ted would have no time for. But the manner of his going - out jogging - was Ted all over. He made you proud to be a teacher, and there are precious few people in educational public life who do that. Nothing in my teaching career quite matches the pride I feel in having worked at Exeter under Ted Wragg.

Sean Lang, Cambridge

Ted Wragg taught me at Exeter. He was truly inspirational and enthusiastic about his work. He was also - and this is rare, in my opinion, among academics and those who do not practise our craft every day - very practical. All his advice was sensible and workable. A very kind man, nice to colleagues and kids and generous with his time. He should have been knighted for services to education!

Margaret Drummond, Ilford

He was so wise, utterly without personal vanity, absolutely committed to teachers and pupils, and his mischievous wit was such a refreshing antidote to the arrogance and ignorance of the politicians. If we put all the ministers of state for education, civil servants and politicians who have been involved in education over the past 20 years together, they would not match his contribution.

Dorothy Granville, Middlesbrough

I am a student at Exeter and have been honoured to receive lectures from Ted and also to exchange the odd smile and personal chat. He was a wonderful, fun, warm man with a fantastic empathy with teachers and children alike. As our vice-chancellor put it today, he is "irreplaceable"

and it is difficult to think of a more popular man in this field. His presence on campus will be missed and so too will his fantastic work. But what a full and happy, remarkably worthy life he led. He's gone young, but look what he has done for education in those 67 years.

Carol Ann Sealy, Somerset

His support and empathy, combined with a sharp wit, made him feel like "one of us". He went beyond the call of duty in responding to teachers' personal concerns (including one of mine), invariably offering constructive solutions without ever implying any fault on the individual's part. And his writing was unspeakably hilarious. Cheers Ted, you have brightened many a difficult day for me.

Chris Bluemel, Southampton

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