Tess Ridge, Professor of Social Policy and Deputy Head of the Department of Social & Policy Sciences, has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to social sciences.

Tess has been at the University since arriving as a mature student to study social policy and administration in the mid-1990s. Her doctorate research, published as Childhood Poverty and Social Exclusion: From a Child's Perspective, quickly became a widely read and much cited book. She was appointed as a lecturer in 2000, reader in 2011 and professor in 2012.

Contrary to accepted academic and policy positions, which saw children as passive victims of poverty or used adults to provide information about the impact of poverty in childhood, Tess approached the issue from a child-centred perspective. Her ground-breaking research has produced new theoretical insights, based on children’s lives and experiences.

Impact on legislation

Professor Ridge’s impact on government policy has been substantial, especially the 2010 Child Poverty Act. She has helped local government to devise plans to tackle child poverty, working also with groups like the Children's Society and the Child Poverty Action Group. She has been an adviser to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union.

Tess said: “I am delighted that my work has been recognised in this way, it reflects the considerable support that I have received since I started my academic career at the University of Bath. I am grateful to all those who have collaborated with me in my research. In particular my thanks go to the many disadvantaged children who have generously shared their experiences of poverty with me. Their accounts have greatly enhanced our understanding of the corrosive impact of childhood poverty in affluent societies.”

The President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Glynis Breakwell, said: “The University of Bath’s success is rooted in its people, staff and students. Tess Ridge is a great example - an inspiring teacher, generous with her time, encouraging the next generation of social policy experts. Her work is an outstanding example of how robust and rigorous research can influence policy at all levels.”

You might also be interested in:

Google Scholar citations

Encouraging policy-makers to listen to children when developing policies to address childhood poverty - REF2014 Impact Case Study

Children's Society report - essay by Tess Ridge (Part 1 - Testimony) - June 2013

Evidence to Child Poverty Act Public Bill Committee - October 2009