Degree ceremonies are very often a family affair, with proud relatives cheering on those graduating, but one family is taking it a step further at this week’s University summer graduation ceremonies.

Over two days, three generations of the Thompsons – grandad, Jeff (Emeritus Professor of Education within the University’s Department of Education who will process in both ceremonies); daughter Lynda (graduating with an MA in Education / International Education); and granddaughter Emily (graduating with BSc in Mathematical Sciences) – will all share the special moments together.

A perfect illustration of what education is about

Commenting ahead of the ceremonies, Lynda, who currently works at an international school in Switzerland and is moving this summer to an international school in Mexico, explained: "Studying the MA in Education has offered me a valuable opportunity to reflect upon my own practice as an educator. The University of Bath, through the Department of Education, has given me the flexibility to study in a variety of ways; Summer School has provided a fantastic chance for me to learn with likeminded people who share a passion for international education.

"Graduating alongside my niece this summer, several years after my own Dad’s graduation with an honorary degree, all with the University of Bath, is a beautiful illustration to me of what education is intrinsically about. Throughout our lives we are in a continuous process of learning, whatever our ages and stage of life we find ourselves. The fact that our graduations are nearer together time-wise than our chronological ages may suggest that the time gap is closing!"

Emily Carmichael who graduates following a four-year BSc in Mathematical Sciences, including a placement year, added: “Leaving school after my A Levels, I was keen to continue my studies and I chose the University of Bath as the place that I felt would provide opportunities to study Maths in great depth. The mixture of lectures and small group tutorials has supported my needs as a learner and encouraged me to focus on areas of the subject that interested me as I progressed through the course. My placement year in industry was invaluable in giving me an insight into how I could use my skills and knowledge in the workplace. I particularly enjoyed having the opportunity to take units in education which also gave me an insight into mathematical and scientific understanding as well as how to promote the learning of mathematics in schools.

“Needless to say that during my time at Bath I have made friends for life, had many adventures - such as running a marathon in Budapest with other students from the University - and I am looking forward to developing my university experiences and meeting the challenges ahead. Graduating in the same week as my Auntie, and with my grandad attending the ceremony, will make this an even more special occasion.”

Jeff Thompson CBE, Emeritus Professor of Education, has been involved in graduation ceremonies at the University over a number of decades having first joined in 1979. He will process in both Emily and Lynda’s ceremonies on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Celebrating family success

He said: “It is always a delight to be present at the graduating ceremonies for students with whom we, as members of staff, have shared teaching and learning experiences over the course of a programme lasting, in some cases, many years.

“It is a particular pleasure to be doing so with members of one’s own family and in my own university. Even though I have had no direct part in the studies in which they have been engaged, as a father and grandfather I can join with all our family in celebrating the success which they have each earned and which they both thoroughly deserve - and of which I am personally very proud.”

Professor Thompson was awarded an honorary degree, Doctor of Education, from the University in June 2014.

Throughout a distinguished career he led on the development of the national curriculum in 1987 under Kenneth Baker, and both in the UK and internationally he has been integral in the development and advancement of the International Baccalaureate (IB). At the University he has held multiple positions including Pro-Vice-Chancellor, the post which is now the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences and has also been Head of the Department of Education on three different occasions.