Cynthia Jones, 1950-2012

October 25, 2012

A lecturer who played a pivotal role in training teachers all the way from Kingston to Chile has died.

Cynthia Jones was born on 26 October 1950 and educated at Greenhill County School in Pembrokeshire. In 1971 she obtained a BA in psychology at what was then the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, followed by a master's in social psychology at Bedford College in 1974.

After working briefly as a research assistant at Bedford College, Ms Jones joined what is now Kingston University as a lecturer in education studies in 1974. She was appointed senior lecturer in 1980 and principal lecturer in 1993, a position she held until her recent retirement.

Ms Jones' early years at the institution saw her drawing directly on her training as a psychologist, delivering courses in child development, counselling and social work while also researching and publishing in these fields. Over the years, she became more focused on providing postgraduate professional development to practising teachers.

To achieve this goal, Ms Jones often had to create innovative master's programmes and diplomas, partly taught on school premises or local authority training centres, to help teachers enhance their skills.

These included a number of modules tailored to the requirements of teachers of pupils with special needs such as autism. She also introduced one of the university's first distance-learning programmes, in conjunction with the Hornsby International Dyslexia Centre.

Once established as an authority in these areas, Ms Jones was keen to share her insights as widely as possible. She became an active member of Comenius, the European teacher education network, and travelled as far as Chile to share her expertise with teacher trainers. She also worked with a group of European universities on the Leonardo da Vinci project to pool knowledge of special needs education and school leadership across the Continent.

Greg Lancaster-Smith, retired director of postgraduate professional development at Kingston's School of Education, remembered Ms Jones as a woman with "an authority that people took notice of", who "never seemed to forget people" and had "an incredible network of contacts with ex-students" as well as "a sort of homing device to seek out any other Welsh person in the room".

David Miles, Kingston's former pro vice-chancellor for external affairs, described her as the university's "backbone of in-school teacher training and continuing professional development over many years. There can't be a school in the Kingston and Surrey area that hasn't benefited from her dedication and commitment."

Cynthia Jones died on 14 September and is survived by her husband Rob, a son and a daughter.

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