Professor Pat Shenton OBE (1945-2021)

A head and shoulders photograph of Pat smiling as she looks to the camera wearing a pale blue t-shirt and short-sleeved jacket, she is also wearing metal framed glasses on her face

Pat arrived at the IM Marsh College after a range of teaching experiences both in schools and following appointment in 1971 as Lecturer in Education and Physical Education at the University of Liverpool. It was during this time Pat was awarded a Diploma in the Advanced Study of Education, and her personal commitment to development continued after arriving at IM Marsh College, when in 1979 she gained a Master’s in Education with a thesis on ‘Women in Sport: A comparative study of Britain and the USSR’.

Pat progressed rapidly to Principal Lecturer in Physical and Outdoor Education at a time when the IM Marsh PE College became part of Liverpool Polytechnic in 1986 – and by 1990 she was Head of Centre for PE, Sport and Dance Development, then in 2001 was awarded a Professorship in Physical Education.

The award of Professorship was recognition of Pat as a strategic leader, researcher and importantly putting this all into practice by seeking to transform the life chances of young people. Pat was known to be skilled at critiquing the politics of education systems which she used to position IM Marsh College at the forefront of teacher education nationally and internationally. Examples of initiatives Pat led included:

  • 1975 - selected to represent the National Sports Council tour to Finland, and the Soviet Union focusing on PE and training in schools
  • 1980 - member of the National Sports Council on Women in Sport
  • 1984 - executive Member for the National Body for PE in Higher Education and lead for Special Needs
  • 1992 - higher education representative on the National Coaching Foundation Sport Development group
  • 1994 - Partnering LJMU with Greenbank Sports Academy which is now a national centre of excellence for disability sport and the training of Paralympic athletes
  • 1997 - appointed as National OfSTED Inspector for Initial Teacher Training
  • 1997 to 2002 - Organised nine National Conferences disseminating models of best practice in initial and continuous professional development of teachers

These are just a few examples demonstrating why in 2002 Pat was promoted to Director of School of PE, Sport and Dance, and this was a period in Pat’s career when she was at the top of her profession and in high demand nationally and internationally with people wanting to hear her innovative ideas and vision for future schools, teacher training, and community development.

“I am privileged to work so closely with so many other staff who have highly respected skills, subject expertise, commitment, and enthusiasm. They have provided me with inspiration and enthusiasm.”

– Professor Pat Shenton, Director of School of PE, Sport and Dance (2002)

Pat’s career reached way beyond schools and teacher training, and she actively contributed to several leading community initiatives. She was Trustee of Everton in the Community, and Director of Academies Trusts, and Special Schools. Pat’s leading role within Everton in the Community placed it as one of the UK's top sporting charities, firmly establishing it on the world stage for community sport development. Since 1988 Everton in the Community has been at the forefront of social intervention across Merseyside, not being afraid to tackle issues which others shied away from.

In 2008 Pat was recognised with the Honoured Member Award by the Association for PE in recognition of setting up and coordinating a national network for PE Initial Teacher Training and Co-directing a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning promoting leadership and entrepreneurship for students in the world of work. Pat was also a long-standing trustee for Merseyside Sports Foundation, and a former Vice Chair of Merseyside Sports Partnership and is remembered with a great deal of admiration by the trustees, staff team, and board members.

Pat led an active lifestyle, and over the years enjoyed playing county level hockey, squash, mountaineering, skiing, and her beloved golf. In retirement, as well as being a trustee for Merseyside Sports Foundation and Ringway Golf Club, she led a project team on the development of an academy for young people and their parents.

On 31 August 2010 when Pat retired, she was awarded an Emeritus Professorship in recognition of her outstanding contribution to PE, Sport, Dance, and not long after was awarded an OBE for her services to education and training.