Dame Ruth is the founding President of the Further Education Trust for Leadership, an independent think tank focusing on the leadership of thinking in and about the FE and Skills system.
She was for 17 years the Principal of Lewisham College, a large vocational further education London college serving a diverse and multicultural population, offering inspiring and challenging courses, with widening access into education and onwards to economic life at the core of the curriculum.
- Chaired the Labour government’s National Taskforce on the Future of the Careers Profession.
- Was a member of Prime Minister Brown’s Women and Work Commission
- The founding chair of the board and council of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service.
- Founder member of the London Skills and Employment Board,
- Adviser to the House of Commons Select Committee on Education
- Co-chair with Barry Sheerman MP of the APPG Skills Commission
- The chief assessor for the Qualifying Programme for Principals.
In 2014, she worked with Glasgow’s colleges in the post-merger realignment of their curriculum offers, and in 2015-16, chaired the Scottish Government’s Commission on Widening Access to Universities. In 2017 -18she was the FE member on the Royal Society and British Academy’ s joint review group and the report on ‘Harnessing Educational Research.’
Dame Ruth writes and broadcasts extensively on educational matters and is deeply committed to economic and social inclusiveness.
Dame Ruth studied psychology and literature at Glasgow and Southampton universities as an NUM scholar and trained at the Tavistock Clinic in Adolescence and Transition. She was awarded a CBE 1996, and a damehood in 2006 for services to further education. She received Honorary Doctorates from the universities of Southampton, London South Bank and the Open University and has been awarded Fellowships by The UCL Institute of Education ,City and Guilds and the City of Glasgow College.