Frank Barrett Obituary

Frank Barrett, my father, passed away at the age of 74. He was a passionate teacher who committed his life to the cause of education and social justice. Initially, he taught secondary school-level mathematics and later trained other teachers. He further worked on projects aiming at making education more accessible globally. Throughout his professional career, Frank was of the firm belief that education is the cornerstone in creating a more equitable world.

Frank was born in Wishaw, near Motherwell. His parents were Dominic Barrett, a miner, and Margaret (nee Lee), who had worked in a hotel. Despite growing up in postwar austerity, he had a happy and warm childhood with his five siblings, many cousins, aunts, and uncles.

He attended St Patrick’s High school, Coatbridge, a grammar school. From a young age, Frank had a deep desire for a fairer world. This drove him to become an educator, and he began his career at Sir James Altham comprehensive, Watford, where he taught mathematics and computer studies. Later, he became a head of mathematics in schools in Bushey, Ware, and Barnet before moving on as assistant headteacher of Bedwell Secondary School, Stevenage, in 1980.

Beyond being passionate about teaching his students, he also pursued self-education constantly. Frank obtained an advanced diploma in education from Cambridge University in 1973, a BA in mathematics from Open University in 1983, and a master’s degree from King’s College London in 1985. His wife, Sarah (nee Gatehouse), whom he married in 1980, helped him balance family, teaching, and his education. In 1989 he began lecturing in maths at Leeds Metropolitan University, where he settled in Yorkshire. He excelled as a mentor and designed specialist enrichment programs, including a course for young teachers.

Frank’s central tenet in life was ensuring cultural equality in education and access to it. He achieved this by delivering projects promoting this in Europe, India, and the US and was particularly pleased with helping establish Leeds’ Centre for Race, Culture, and Education and organizing an international conference for multicultural education.

In 2007, Frank retired from Leeds Met and became a consultant monitoring schools in Dubai and UAE. In 2013, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and he gave up his consulting career. He spent his remaining time with his family, friends, and holidaying with Sarah in the Mediterranean.

Frank is survived by Sarah, their three daughters- Catherine, Eleanor, and myself- and five grandchildren.


  • rosewebb

    Rose Webb is an educational blogger and volunteer who also studies for a degree in law. She loves to write about her experiences and share her knowledge with others, and is passionate about helping others to achieve their goals.

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