Baroness Blower at an NUT conference

HONOURS LIST: Former local teacher Christine Blower named Baroness Blower of Starch Green

Former National Union of Teachers general secretary and Shepherds Bush resident Christine Blower has been awarded a peerage in the latest honours list.

Christine, 68, who lives just off Askew Road, will become Baroness Blower of Starch Green – honouring the area of Shepherds Bush where she lives.

It’s a nomination that not only reflects her long service to the National Union of Teachers, but also to her campaigning work with, among other organisations, Show Racism the Red Card. Currently, she’s chairing H&F Council’s steering group that is overseeing the introduction of our pioneering new free breakfast clubs for all school children.

Christine will be formally introduced in the Lords’ chamber by Hammersmith resident Lord Alf Dubs, a long-standing peer who shares her passion about the importance of welcoming and educating refugee children.

“Baroness Blower will be an energetic force for good in the House of Lords,” said Cllr Stephen Cowan, Leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

“Christine has dedicated her life to improving the lives of young people across our country. She strongly represented her trade union, and her work fighting racism remains hugely important.

“I’m particularly grateful that she’s working with us, as part of our advisory panel, to ensure each and every one of our school children starts the day with a nourishing free breakfast, and that our borough leads the way in tackling child poverty.”

Baroness Blower plans to play a ‘full role’ in education debates, drawing on more than 45 years’ teaching experience.

Background

Educated at a state school in south-west London, Christine joined the NUT while still a student, and has held numerous offices at local and national level, including both president and secretary of Hammersmith & Fulham NUT.

She became union president in 1997, deputy general secretary in 2005 and – in 2009 – the union’s first female general secretary.

A strong opponent of academies, of SATs testing in schools, and of school league tables, her education career has been exclusively in inner London, with her first job teaching French at Holland Park School in Kensington & Chelsea.

She was later head of modern languages at the then St Edmund’s secondary school in Fulham in the early 1980s, later working in the behaviour support team at Hammersmith & Fulham Council, assisting unsettled children and working in a ‘large number’ of local primary schools.

Despite leaving office at the NUT in 2018, she is still actively involved in union work, and has an international role in the NEU – the new incarnation of the NUT.

She is vice-chair of the Unite Against Fascism pressure group, and is vice-president of Show Racism the Red Card, the anti-racism education charity which harnesses footballers’ high profile to get messages across.

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