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David Blunkett pays tribute at memorial to Sir David Hart

Former education secretary David Blunkett was among the speakers to pay tribute to educationalist Sir David Hart at a memorial service on Tuesday (October 8).

Sir David was general secretary of NAHT from 1978 to 2005, during which time he worked with four prime ministers and 12 education secretaries. He died in March at the age of 72.

Paying tribute to Sir David, David Blunkett, who was secretary of state for education from 1997 to 2001, said after the service: “Having ‘seen off’ 12 secretaries of state over 27 years I counted myself lucky to have been able to do business with David over the four years I was education secretary; above all, to have been able to have a sensible dialogue and a recognition that we were all driving the agenda of higher standards and equality of opportunity for all children. He had real leadership skills as well as a deep commitment to the education service.”

Some 160 colleagues and friends of Sir David attended the memorial, which was held at the Assembly Hall, Church House, Westminster, on Tuesday (October 8).

Sir David was a tireless supporter of teachers and pupils and passionately believed a respected and galvanised profession was the key to delivering high quality education. During his time at the NAHT he raised the profile of headship, contributed to improved teacher standards and added his weight to the argument for better pay and conditions for the profession.

Former NAHT treasurer Jack Hatch was a close colleague of Sir David’s and gave a reading at the memorial. Quoting the poem This Life Mattered, he said: “’What matters is not what you bought but what you built.’ And David built the NAHT into the force it is today.

Marking Sir David’s involvement in education, the choir from the Cathedral School of St Saviour and St Mary Overy sang three songs. Other speakers included former NAHT presidents John Swallow and Dr Rona Tutt.

Page Published: 10/10/2013

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