Vale – Gregor Ramsey AM (former Lincoln Chairman)

 In Blog

Tireless champion of quality teaching

This tribute originally appeared in The Advertiser on Saturday 16 June 2018.

Through his Ramsey Report and his personal efforts, Gregor Ramsey was to redesign the entire tertiary college and teacher education sector in Australia.

His inspirations were many, but one particularly relevant to this newspaper was his section in The Sun-Advertiser Youth Travel scholarship to the UK. Gregor was in his Leaving (Year 11) year at the time.

The 17-year old sailed for the UK on what proved to be a life-changing experience, introducing a country boy to the many cultures of the world.

He had been born in Gawler to Allen and Elston and moved with his brothers Ian and Garrey as Allen’s teaching career took the family to one-teacher country schools.

Gregor took a science degree and a diploma in education and began teaching in high schools including Gawler, Clare Valley and Woodville.

By 1962 he was teaching maths and science at Darwin High, married to Naomi Martin and with three children.

He won a scholarship and headed with his family for Ohio State University in the US to complete a PhD in curriculum development.

Two years of American life and education brought a whole new set of influences into Gregor’s life. They lived on campus and met people from around the world, making friends that lasted a lifetime.

He strongly believed good teaching had a huge impact on the lives of children.

Back in Australia in 1967 Gregor worked for ACER, developing a national approach to teaching science.

In 1972 he became head of Western Teachers College at Wattle Park in Adelaide. There, he began merger talks with similar institutions and over the next 10 years the mergers of colleges led to the formation of a single South Australian College of Advanced Education.

Greg was installed as principal. It would later transform into the University of SA.

Liz Wauchope worked alongside Gregor at the CAEs and their office romance, despite its many obstacles and difficulties, led to a permanent partnership for the rest of Gregor’s life.

They moved to Canberra in 1984 for Gregor to become the Commissioner of Advanced Education, later chair of the National Board of Employment, Education and Training in 1989.

Gregor next moved to Sydney to run TAFE in NSW. He built on his SA experiences by transforming the administration-heavy TAFE system with 120 colleges in NSW to just 11 institutes.

From 1995 he and Liz turned to private educational consulting, and their international work with many countries – including Russia and China – led to him becoming head of UNESCO’s committee on vocational education.

In 2000, his Ramsey Report for the NSW Government was entitled Quality Matters, his lifelong mantra for education.

He strongly believed good teaching had a huge impact on the lives of children and that teachers should be judged on competence rather than seniority, putting him at odds with the status quo.

Gregor moved on to pursue his interest in equity and indigenous education, establishing the Desert Peoples Centre in Alice Springs.

They returned to Adelaide in 2003 and settled in Grange to be at the heart of his blended two families, partners, children and grandchildren.

He also took on many community roles, from president of the Friends of the SA School of Art to chair of Lincoln College council. His campaign to reform teaching and education led to him creating and then leading the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.

He was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2007. He was also made a Doctor of UniSA, the university he helped to create.

He consulted for indigenous education until his unexpected and sudden death following an operation.

Gregor Allen Ramsey AM

Education Leader

Born: June 6, 1936; Gawler
Died: May 4, 2018, Adelaide
Education: University of Adelaide, Ohio State University
Achievements: Led the merger of Adelaide’s six colleges of advanced education and founded the modern TAFE system, BSc (Adel) Dip Ed (Adel), PhD (Ohio State), D Univ. (UniSA) FACE
Family: Survived by Liz and Naomi and children Carolyn, Meredith, Jennifer, Aisha, Jack and eight grandchildren.
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