A leader in the world of education has received an honorary award from Edge Hill University.

Dr Mary Bousted is the General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers that supports 160,000 members across the UK and is one of Britain’s leading teaching unions.

The 50-year-old has been awarded the honorary doctorate for her outstanding contribution to education and in recognition of her work during her time as an employee at Edge Hill University which resulted in significant developments around teacher training.

She joined the institution in 1997 as Head of Secondary Education and led changes in the development of secondary initial teacher training at Edge Hill. Mary, together with Robert Smedley, the University’s Dean of Faculty of Education, spearheaded a unique partnership between the University and ATL which led to a number of undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications and providing unique Masters level accreditation opportunities.

Edge Hill University is the largest provider of secondary education training and is recognised nationally as a leading University in teacher training and research education. Mary’s outstanding work resonates closely with the work of Edge Hill and her honorary award recognises and celebrates her achievements in the world of education.

Upon receiving the accolade, Mary, who has a 20-year-old daughter, said: “I am deeply honoured to receive this prestigious award from Edge Hill University.  ATL’s partnership with Edge Hill has enabled over 3,000 .teachers, lecturers to gain access to high quality professional development, and to gain postgraduate and undergraduate qualifications which have supported them in their careers.  I look forward to the partnership growing and developing.”

Mary was brought up in Bolton where she attended a girl’s grammar school. She graduated from Hull University with a degree in English and studied for a postgraduate certificate in education at Durham University before going on to start her successful teaching career in secondary schools and universities. She gained her PhD in curriculum development from the University of York.

She took the helm at ATL in the summer of 2003. Her vision was to quickly realise that as a membership organisation of aspirational educational professionals – teachers, lecturers and support staff – its success would depend upon it providing a vehicle for members to join up, join in and get on.

She has reformed policymaking and producing policies for example advocating a new professionalism for teachers, a modern skills-based curriculum, and thought-provoking statements on faith schools and heterosexism.

She also contributes regular articles for newspapers and education journals, and appears frequently on national media. She sits on the executive committee of the Trades Union Congress (TUC). She is also an accomplished public speaker, taking part, last year, in a debate at the Oxford Union.