UCL News


Gillian Anderson receives honorary fellowship 

11 July 2017

Actor Gillian Anderson has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship by UCL Institute of Education (IOE) for her continued support and contribution to their Reading Recovery programme.

Gillian Anderson 2

For over 26 years, the programme, which is based at the IOE's International Literacy Centre (ILC), has been helping children who struggle to read, and the 2017 ceremony celebrated the achievements of pupils and honoured practitioners who have made outstanding contributions to children's literacy this year.

Gillian, a champion of both the Reading Recovery programme and the annual Read Aloud campaign, said, "As an activist, I am passionate about promoting equality in this world and literacy is a key to education and access to opportunities."

Professor Becky Francis, IOE Director, said, "As well as being a world-renowned actor, Gillian is an active supporter of many causes that resonate strongly with the IOE's missions and values. She has been a committed and much valued supporter of the ILC and its work with the Read Aloud campaign to get all children reading. Her passion for supporting young people with their literacy and seeing their children grow from that, and her warmth in listening to the children read, has contributed so much to the campaign's success - and it has meant a great deal to the teachers involved."

Pie Corbett, the English education writer and poet, presented the award winners with their trophies. Pie has written over 200 books, and is well know for promoting creative approaches in the classroom. He has had a great deal of experience as a teacher, head teacher and Ofsted inspector.

Pie said, "It is a real pleasure to support the Reading Recovery Awards. When you are a reader, you defeat wolves, meet talking bears and chase gingerbread men! Reading makes our lives more interesting as we build a magical world inside our heads. We know more; we feel more and we live more deeply. I'm so happy to support the work of Reading Recovery and the children who have worked so hard to become readers."

Over 200 head teachers, teachers and children from schools around the country from North Tyneside to Plymouth attended the event, which was held at the IOE. Guest presenters also included Anne Lyons, President of the National Association of Head teachers (NAHT).

The awards categories comprised of 'Reading Recovery teacher of the year', 'Reading Recovery School of the year', 'Inspirational manager/Hero of the year', 'Reading Recovery children's writing competition', and 'Reading Recovery children's reading competition'. Former ILC Director, Julia Douetil, was awarded a special Advocate for Children's Literacy Award.

Other champions of the ILC's Reading Recovery initiative are footballer Jack Butland, footballer Gareth Bale, Journalist, author, presenter and producer - Janet Street-Porter, Scientist and author - Baroness Susan Greenfield, Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University and former IOE Director - Professor Chris Husbands, Former Bristol MP Charlotte Leslie and speaker and writer on children's issues - Jean Gross CBE.



  • Gillian Anderson with pupils at William Tyndale School, Islington (courtesy of Tim Kavanagh) 

Media Contact

James Russell

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Email: james.russell [at] ucl.ac.uk