Patron (Latin: patronus) defender, protector, advocate. Meaning "one who advances the cause".

Local Children's Universities can also have Patrons: a figurehead who advances the cause through good-will and influence, especially in their area of expertise. Patrons can influence politically, as well as in certain curriculum and learning areas, such as museums, galleries, subject specialisms and Further and Higher Education Institutions.

Patrons can by name and nature raise the profile of the Children's University in their own field and beyond. (Inter)nationally we are privileged to enjoy the support and encouragement of our patrons as follows:

Dr Keith Bartley

Dr Keith Bartley retired in July 2013, having been the Chief Executive for the Department for Education and Child Development in South Australia, where his challenge was to improve outcomes by bringing together South Australia's public services for children, young people and their families, covering early childhood, education, social welfare and primary and population health. Prior to this Keith was Chief Executive of the General Teaching Council for England between 2007 and 2011; Director for Children, Young People and Families for Oxfordshire between 2003 and 2007; Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools for Ofsted between 1999 and 2003, and Rutland's first Director of Education and Community Services between 1996 and 1999. Prior to this he held senior leadership positions at Taverham High School, Norfolk having started his teaching career in 1976 at Homewood School, Tenterden, Kent. Keith is now looking to spend his time supporting those who work or volunteer to improve the life chances and outcomes for children and young people.

Dr James Bradburne

Dr James Bradburne is a British-Canadian architect, designer and museum specialist who has designed World's Fair pavilions, science centres and international art exhibitions.

He has developed numerous exhibitions, research projects and symposia for UNESCO, UNICEF, national governments, private foundations and museums during the course of the last twenty years. He was Head of Design at the new Metropolis Science and Technology Center in Amsterdam and has directed the Museum für Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt, as well as acting as Director General of the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence.

James is currently the Director General of the Pinacoteca di Brera and Biblioteca Nazionale Braidense in Milan. He lectures internationally about new approaches to informal learning and has published extensively.

Shami Chakrabarti

Shami Chakrabarti has been Director of Liberty (The National Council for Civil Liberties) since September 2003. Shami first joined Liberty as In-House Counsel on 10 September 2001. She became heavily involved in its engagement with the "War on Terror" and with the defense and promotion of human rights values in Parliament, the Courts and wider society.

A Barrister by background, she was called to the Bar in 1994 and worked as a lawyer in the Home Office from 1996 until 2001 for Governments of both persuasions.

Since becoming Liberty's Director she has written, spoken and broadcast widely on the importance of the post-WW2 human rights framework as an essential component of a democratic society.

She is Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, a Governor of the British Film Institute, and a Visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford in addition to being a Master of the Bench of Middle Temple. She was recently invited to be one of 6 independent assessors advising Lord Justice Leveson in his Public Inquiry into the Culture, Practice and Ethics of the UK Press.

The Lord Lingfield Kt DL Dlitt

Robert Balchin, The Lord Lingfield, is Pro-Chancellor of Brunel University. He is the Knight Principal of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor (Chairman of the Knights' Council). He was knighted for services to education in January 1993.

Sir Robert was Director General of St John Ambulance for five years in the 1980s and was the senior education policy adviser to the Government throughout the early '90s. He devised and ran the programme for autonomy in state schools and was Chairman of the Grant-Maintained School Foundation from 1989-98. He currently Chairs the Commission on Special Needs in Education.

He has been a teacher, lecturer and company director and is the Founder Chairman of The English Schools Orchestra and of the League of Mercy, a charity which encourages and recognises voluntary work in caring for the sick. He is a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London and his appointment as Knight Principal was approved by The Queen in 2006. Robert Balchin was created a life peer on 17 December 2010 as Baron Lingfield.

He was awarded the Order of St John in 1984 and has several honorary degrees and fellowships.

Robert Muchamore

Robert Muchamore was born in Islington in 1972 and continues to live in North London. After spending thirteen years working as a private investigator, he decided to start writing the CHERUB series following his nephew's complaints about the lack of anything for them to read. In 2009, Hodder Children's Books launched a brand new series from Robert Muchamore - Henderson's Boys - taking fans back to World War Two where the very first CHERUB adventure began. For more information on Robert and his books please visit

Baron Puttnam, CBE, FRSA

David Puttnam spent thirty years as an independent producer of award-winning films including The Mission, The Killing Fields, Local Hero, Chariots of Fire, Midnight Express, Bugsy Malone and Memphis Belle. His films have won ten Oscars, 25 Baftas and the Palme D'Or at Cannes.

From 1994 to 2004 he was Vice President and Chair of Trustees at the British Academy of Film & Television Arts (BAFTA) and was awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in 2006.

He retired from film production in 1998 to focus on his work in public policy as it relates to education, the environment, and the 'creative and communications' industries. In 1998 he founded the National Teaching Awards, which he chaired until 2008, also serving as the first Chair of the General Teaching Council from 2000 to 2002. From July 2002 to July 2009 he was president of UNICEF UK, playing a key role in promoting UNICEF's key advocacy and awareness objectives.

David is the present Chancellor of the Open University, following ten years as Chancellor of The University of Sunderland. He is President of the Film Distributors' Association, Chairman of North Music Trust (The Sage Gateshead), Deputy Chairman of Profero and a trustee of the Eden Project. He has recently been appointed as Prime Minister's Trade Envoy - Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

He was Deputy Chairman of Channel 4 Television from 2006 until January 2012. He was founding Chair of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) and for ten years chaired the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television. He has also served as a trustee of the Tate Gallery, the Science Museum and many other organisations.

In 2007 he served as Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Draft Climate Change Bill, having performed the same role on the 2002 Communications Bill. He has also been Chairman of two Hansard Society Commission Reports on the relationship between Parliament and the Public; he serves as Senior Non-Executive Director at Promethean.

David was awarded a CBE in 1982, a knighthood in 1995 and was appointed to the House of Lords in 1997. In France he was made a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in 1985, becoming an Officer in 1992, and a Commander in 2006. He has been the recipient of more than 40 honorary degrees from Universities in the UK and overseas, and in October 2012 was awarded a Fellowship of the Sam Spiegel Film School.

For more information, please visit

Hilary Robinson

Hilary Robinson is an author, radio producer, broadcaster and feature writer. She was born in Devon and brought up in Nigeria and England. The author of over forty books for children she is best known for Mixed Up Fairy Tales. Her books have been translated into a number of languages and are sold across the world. She lives and works in London and Yorkshire.

Hilary is related to the poet William Wordsworth.

Hilary is a supporter of, and has worked with, a number of reading initiatives with schools in inner city areas. She has campaigned against the move to promote age banding on children's books collaborated with authors, illustrators and editors to oppose the war on Iraq and supports author Alan Gibbon's campaign against cuts to the library service. She is an occasional book reviewer for Writeaway. Hilary has appeared at the Edinburgh Children's Book Festival, the North of England Children's Book Festival, the Swansea Book Festival and the Sheffield Book Festival. She is a member of the Federation of Children's Book Groups.

Hilary Robinson has written features for The Times, The Times Educational Supplement, The Guardian, The Independent, The Yorkshire Post, Practical Parenting, Primary English, Family History Monthly and other specialist press.


Dr Tessa Stone

Tessa was a Trustee of the CU Trust from 2006 to 2011.

Tessa is the Chief Executive of Brightside, the education charity which uses online technology to connect, inform and inspire more young people to achieve their potential through education. Brightside's e-mentoring service connects disadvantaged young people with volunteer mentors from universities or professional backgrounds who can support them into further and higher education.

Professor Mick Waters

Mick was a Trustee of the CU Trust from 2009 to 2014.

Professor Mick Waters has a range of career experiences that inform his work. Currently, he works with the schools in the Black Country Challenge in raising standards in the West Midlands. He is also president of the Curriculum Foundation, which seeks to promote a voice for the power and potential of the whole curriculum.

Previously, he worked at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority as Director of Curriculum taking a leading role in helping schools to rethink their approach to curriculum design and influencing national policy on aspects of the national curriculum.

Before joining QCA, Mick was Chief Education Officer for the City of Manchester.

Mick has experience of headship in two schools and of working in teacher training.

Mick believes in being close to teachers, children and schools, and is often to be found in the classroom working with children. He is passionate about the role of education in improving life chances for pupils.

Julian Lloyd Webber

Widely regarded as one of the most creative musicians of his generation and now leading England's In Harmony programme, Julian Lloyd Webber won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music when he was sixteen and completed his studies in Geneva with the renowned French cellist, Pierre Fournier. Since then he has collaborated with an extraordinary array of musicians from Yehudi Menuhin, Lorin Maazel, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Georg Solti to Elton John and Stephane Grappelli.

Julian has won numerous awards for his services to music, including the Crystal Award (presented at the World Economic Forum in 1998) and the Classic FM Red Award in 2005. In 1994 he was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music. As leader of In Harmony, the British Government's new music programme, Julian is working to promote personal and community development in some of England's most deprived areas, through orchestral-based learning and musical experiences.

Julian joined the Board of Governors of London's Southbank Centre in September 2009 and earlier that year - in recognition of his lifelong devotion to Elgar's music - he was elected President of the Elgar Society.

Julian is married to fellow cellist Jiaxin Cheng. He is a passionate supporter of Leyton Orient football club and was London Underground's first official busker.

For more information visit