Upon the retirement of Dr. Ros Morpeth OBE from her position as Chief Executive of the National Extension College, we would like to thank her for her decades of service and the enormous impact she has made to thousands of students’ lives.

From left: NEC chair of trustees Geoffrey Hubbard, Morpeth and NEC founder Michael Young celebrate NEC’s 25-year anniversary

Ros has always gone above and beyond to support students and widen participation in lifelong learning, so much so that she received an OBE in 2015 for services to further education. In the early 1970s, Ros became a mature student at the University of Cambridge studying social anthropology before going on to complete her PhD in Northern India. Upon returning to the UK in the late 1970s and, after working in a variety of roles, took over as Chief Executive in 1987.

After leaving in the early 2000s, Ros worked for international agencies like UNICEF and UNESCO to help developing countries use flexible learning to reach out to the hardest to reach, before returning to NEC in 2011.

Since then, Ros has dedicated herself to those in pursuit of a quality education, campaigning on behalf of NEC students and private candidates across the UK. She has developed invaluable partnerships with other educational organisations including the Open University, Open College of the Arts, the WEA, the Prisoner’s Education Trust, University of Cambridge Institute of Continuing Education, the Association for Art History and many more.

“Ros has delivered a powerful combination of unrelenting and dedicated professional focus which is energised by her undoubted and widely recognised personal passion and commitment. This mix has contributed significantly to the ongoing success of the NEC but also to the development of the life-long learning movement in general.”Andrew Law, Director of Business Innovation, The Open University

“Working with Ros has always been a delight and her contribution to adult and distance education through her leadership of NEC is unparalleled. We are all in her debt. May her retirement be long, healthy and full of fun.” – Sir Alan Tuckett, Emeritus Professor of Education, University of Wolverhampton 

All of the staff at NEC would like to take this opportunity to thank Ros for all she has done for NEC over the years, and for her continued support moving into this new chapter at the charity.

“I’ve never met a CEO as approachable as Ros. I first met Ros during my second year at university whilst interning at NEC and can’t thank Ros enough for how she’s helped, and continues to help, me navigate a career within education. Ros’ dedication and values have made NEC what it is today and it is this foundation that will enable NEC to thrive well into the future. Thank you for everything.” Rea Duxbury, Learning Development Officer at Worcester College, University of Oxford. Rea interned with NEC in 2017 and became Marketing and Research Assistant in 2019.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Ros for many years  and have always been in awe of her passion for NEC’s mission to provide second chance learning to all. She has seen the charity through good times and not so good times, and has weathered numerous educational upheavals and challenges with extraordinary resilience. Ros and I are possibly the last remaining NEC staff who can recall the days when student records were held in enormous – and lethal  – rotating filing “drums”, and when sending out an e-shot required a raucous team of students, a table full of flyers, guides and envelopes and a lot of sticky-glue rollers. I wish Ros a fantastic retirement: we will miss her.”Alison Edwards, Education and Quality Manager, National Extension College

“I first met Ros in 1990 when I moved to Cambridge from London and I had a temping assignment at NEC as her secretary.  I didn’t know then that NEC would form part of my growth and career development in the ensuing years.  Ros saw something in me that I didn’t, and continually encouraged and supported me to take on new challenges.  During the period until now although I left NEC a few times, I was drawn back mainly due to Ros offering me new opportunities and so glad she did.  Ros has an unbelievable passion for NEC and what it offers students but also education in general. I really admire her resilience and strength in coming out of retirement back in 2011 to lead it back to where it is now.  Not only for our students but also offering continual employment to staff. I would like to thank Ros for the support she has given me over the years but also want to say ‘you should be so proud of yourself and what you have achieved – enjoy your well-deserved retirement’.” – Helen Smith, Office Manager and Executive Assistant, National Extension College


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this story