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Brian Schofield: oration

Read Professor James Davenport's oration on Mr Brian Schofield for the honorary degree of Master of the University in July 2023.


Brian Schofield
Brian Schofield

Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Brian Schofield was Head of Security Services at the University of Bath for 14 years until his untimely death in 2019.

The Security Services Department, as well as the duties inherent in its name, handles a great deal of Reception and front-line student welfare, as I appreciated when they handled an epileptic fit incident in a crowded University Hall. Many universities train their staff in First Aid, but Brian ensured Bath’s were also trained in Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Intervention.

Many of Brian’s long-serving colleagues have remarked that he “brought Security out of the dark ages”. He was instrumental in introducing new technology to the University to improve safety and security. This included electronic access control, extensive CCTV, electronic key cabinets and electronic reporting systems. However, his real achievement was the development of his staff and changing the culture of Security to ensure it became a ‘service’ to the University community, with greater emphasis on welfare. He developed his staff with regards to their skills and ensured that the services, which we still see today, are amongst the best of any Higher Education institution. The department is now used as an ‘exemplar model’ and is often visited by Security Managers from other institutions.

Though he did not live to see it, Brian would have been proud of how his department not just responded to Covid, but helped the whole University respond. Electronic access control and associated reporting systems were key to maintaining the ever-changing access requirements. Trust and setting a positive example were key to the policing of the ever-changing regulations and, more importantly, expectations. Brian’s ethos: “Here to help at all times” shone through in a thank you letter from a student to a member of our Security team. The Security staff member had played a game of noughts and crosses with the student on the other side of their door when they were self-isolating with Covid. It was clear that this meant a very great deal to both the student and their family.

Brian’s vision and leadership have resulted in the safety and security of this campus being voted nationally in the top two safest campus’ regularly by student and other polls.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor, I present Brian Schofield as being eminently worthy to receive the degree of Master of the University honoris causa.

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