Tony is Vice Chancellor Emeritus and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bedfordshire, having formerly been its founding Vice Chancellor. He held concurrent Secretary of State appointments for 11 years as Chairman of the Bedfordshire Health Authorities. He is a chartered mathematician, and was awarded a PhD in Education as a part-time student following research into the effects on achievement of involving parents of primary school children in the curriculum.
In 2010 he pioneered Bedfordshire public speaking competitions for pupils aged seven to ten years, now in their eighth year, and with the English-Speaking Union developed and trialled nationally a series of speaking and listening activities for schools, subsequently published as a teachers’ resource book. The activities improve children’s self-confidence, self-esteem, and their command and use of English. He led a controlled university action-research programme which established that such activities significantly improve school performance, especially for disadvantaged pupils and those whose first language is not English.
He is passionate about providing opportunities for young children to improve their self-confidence to speak, debate and challenge the views of others in public, and is currently engaged in creating and supporting primary school oracy networks around the country.