Since relinquishing the helm of Oxford Brookes University in 1997, Clive Booth, knighted in the New Year Honours, has developed an enviable portfolio. It was a relief, he concedes, to leave the day-to-day running of a major organisation to become a professional chairperson.
Sir Clive was reappointed chair of the Teacher Training Agency in 2000 and has been widely credited for its turnaround. "David Blunkett made it clear he was losing patience with the TTA and it was deeply unpopular with schools and universities," he recalls. Recruitment to teacher training is now at its highest for 12 years. Ralph Tabberer, TTA chief executive, said Sir Clive had transformed the agency. The award-winning "Those who can, teach" campaign attracted more than 1 million inquiries.
During his 11 years at Oxford, Sir Clive was in charge of Oxford Polytechnic's transformation into Oxford Brookes. He was a senior civil servant at the Department of Education and Science between 1965 and 1981, when he was appointed deputy director of Plymouth Polytechnic.
He took a science degree at Cambridge and a doctorate in education finance at the University of California, Berkeley.
Sir Clive is chair of the new Central Police Training and Development Agency, deputy chair of the South East England Development Agency, a senior adviser for higher education to the British Council and a consultant to the World Bank. He has served on the board of the British Council, the Council for Industry and Higher Education, and the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission. He also chairs the editorial board of Higher Education Quarterly .
Sir Clive likened his honour to winning the National Lottery. "You just don't believe it," he said. "I read that Rudyard Kipling was twice offered a knighthood," he said. "But I am taking this chance. I don't think they'll ask me again."