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Suzanne Turner-Jones of Barnardo's receives honorary doctorate

Assistant director of charity is a leading advocate for children

The University of East London (UEL) has honoured one of London's leading advocates for vulnerable children with an Honorary Doctorate of Education. 

Suzanne Turner-Jones, Assistant Director of Children’s Services at children’s charity Barnardo’s, received the degree at a graduation ceremony held at Indigo at The O2 for students belonging to UEL's Cass School of Education and Communities.

"This is evidence for me that you be a young woman from a working-class background, where it might have been expected you would do something more traditional, and be recognised for making a real difference to children and young people. I am honoured to be recognised by my people and my community, " Ms Turner-Jones said.

Born in Lewisham in and raised in Brockley, southeast London, Ms Turner-Jones's professional journey has been guided by a conviction in her desire and ability to help children on the margins of society. 

At Barnardo’s, Ms Turner-Jones plays an integral role in ensuring that London’s neediest young people receive the services and support they need. Her charges include young people in residential care, children with disabilities, young carers who look after a sick family member and young people going through various transitions. 

Her achievements include helping Barnardo’s implement status-quo challenging changes for children in residential care. The efforts have achieved extraordinary results.

“I was always interested in going that bit further to make sure children got the best service they could. This is why I ended up in management and pursued a pathway through management – so I could be in a position to make sure change happened," Ms Turner-Jones said.

Ms Turner-Jones has also worked in family centres and with charities. Her accomplishments include developing, as a Sure Start local programme manager, a commercially viable nursery in Suffolk that serves some of the area’s most vulnerable children. Within six months of opening, the nursery was rated “Outstanding” by Ofsted – a mark which still stands today.

 She earned a degree in early childhood studies from the University of East Anglia as a mature student. However, she soon realised her real talents lay elsewhere, and took a position as a family support practitioner at a family centre in Suffolk. 

Ms Turner-Jones has also played an important role in helping Barnardo’s develop close ties with UEL’s Cass School of Education and Communities.   

All of UEL’s graduation ceremonies are taking place this week at indigo at The O2 at Peninsula Square in London.