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Tribute to Tim Brighouse, 1940 - 2023

Tim Brighouse was one of a distinguished cadre of public servants who transformed the lives of communities.  Along with Alec Clegg in the West Riding and Henry Morris in Cambridgeshire from previous generations, Tim brought about changes in education that we in HSE today would applaud and find exciting and inspirational. 

With the demise of Local Education Authorities it is literally true to say that Tim Brighouse is “irreplaceable”. Relationships were at the heart of Tim’s work, always to improve human agency and reduce boundaries. He had a rare capacity to engage a wide range of audiences and inspire optimism. He modelled what he was about, he really did ‘walk the talk’. His gift was a modesty that encouraged others to shine through the opportunities he created, his humility was to avoid the allure of status and build community. He lit up any room from the smallest classroom to the largest lecture theatre. Tim had a sparkle and a message of hope. He could and did make a significant difference.


It was clear from his early days working with Buckinghamshire LEA that he would break the mould such as establishing Stantonbury Campus in Milton Keynes. This was followed by strings of initiatives while CEO of Oxfordshire, leading the London Challenge and as CEO in Birmingham that sought to ameliorate the excess of some of central government’s political impositions on schools. Tim set an agenda that was much more wide-ranging and respectful of teachers, young people, and the wide array of talents that all have and the inclusive ways through which they could be exhibited. For many decades ahead I suspect it will be totally refreshing and absorbing to read his numerous articles and inspiring books. 

There was a time in the 80s when we held our executive committee meetings at his office In Oxford.  Tim became a valued Patron of the HSE charity and whenever we invited him to speak, he always accepted with never a request for a fee, always offering masses of encouragement. While the values remained constant, each talk or article was crafted anew, each uniquely honouring the audience he was addressing.   His cherishing of all is legendary, from handwritten personal notes of thanks or encouragement to turning up at a time of need to sitting down and through careful discussion opening a new set of possibilities. Tim was transformational both at an institutional and personal level. How we will miss his magic, his courage, his vision, and humanity.  



Mike Davies, HSE Patron, December 2023 

Link to Tribute on the Guardian Website: 

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