Jan Hardy obituary

My friend and fellow campaigner Jan Hardy, who has died aged 77, was a committed anti-racist campaigner who became the county adviser for multicultural education in Hertfordshire local authority and a co-founder of the Anti-Racist Teacher Education Network.

After achieving top grades at A-level and then a degree in chemistry and sociology from the University of Surrey (1968), Jan took a PGCE at Goldsmiths College, London, and, from 1968 to 1974, taught chemistry at Alperton high school in the London borough of Brent. He then joined Homerton College, University of Cambridge, as a senior lecturer (1974-86), where he witnessed the inadequate preparation given to new and serving teachers on how to work in increasingly ethnically and culturally diverse schools.

In 1986, he became county adviser for multicultural education at Hertfordshire LEA where he met Samidha Garg; they married in 1994. His first marriage, to Wendy Bratherton, ended in divorce. In Hertfordshire he was determined that its schools were supported to work with the county-wide Minority-Ethnic Curriculum Support Service, and to establish systems and structures that would make schools accountable for raising the achievement of minority-ethnic pupils.

In the 80s, when I was at the Commission for Racial Equality, he and I co-founded the Anti-Racist Teacher Education Network (Arten). The network was a loosely organised group of mainly teacher educators who were determined to ensure that anti-racist thinking and practice be embedded in the training of all student teachers. It provided responses, sometimes caustic, to many government papers and proposals for initial teacher education constantly arguing the case for anti-racist training and pointing out the government’s lack of commitment and poor grasp of the issues involved. Jan was a key member of the group, which in 2002 published its Framework for Anti-Racist Teacher Education – a publication that was bought by many higher education institutions and other organisations.

Born in Cambridge, to Victor Hardy, the deputy secretary of the Cambridge examinations syndicate, and Molly (nee Rust), a housewife, Jan attended the Perse school in Cambridge, which provided a fairly privileged education – something he was very aware of – and the memories of which he always drew on to combat inequalities.

Jan was funny with an infectious laugh, as well as empathic and energetic. He cared deeply for the weak and vulnerable, including wildlife, and would think nothing of travelling miles to get an injured creature to the right sanctuary. He and Samidha loved fishing, going to the opera and doing cryptic crosswords. He also enjoyed food and was especially happy when visiting Samidha’s relatives in India, where he would always find something new, different and spiritually rewarding.

Jan is survived by Samidha, his children, Matthew and Nicola, from his first marriage, and by four grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and his brother Tim. His brother Paul predeceased him.

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