Ted was my boss for the best part of 20 years, and if I'd been asked to make out a case for his "greatness" perhaps I too should have got bogged down. Ted wasn't into "greatness". He enjoyed being in charge, though, and used his position to advance his strongly held principles.
He was slow to appreciate how implacable enemies would prove to be. When he got the measure of the danger, he did two things: he refused to button up about the things that made him cross, and he unleashed a torrent of mockery so corrosive that he had his victims begging for mercy and the rest of us rolling in our tumbrels.
Ted remained constant to his belief that teachers would thrive best when given the resources to manage their own professional development. His vision was matched by his courage; his sense of fun by a highly vocational seriousness. Had he chosen to play his political cards differently who knows to what high office he might have advanced.
But that wasn't Ted. Great? He was a colossus.
Hon research fellow
University of Exeter