John Hayes obituary

Other lives: Lecturer in the sociology of education at the Institute of Education in London

My partner, John Hayes, who has died aged 85, was one of the bright lights assembled around Basil Bernstein at the Institute of Education, London University, during its prime in the 1970s and 80s.

Along with Bernstein, John taught about the social impediments to learning and the influence of class structure on education. As a senior lecturer at the Institute from the late 60s until 1991, he worked with postgraduates from many disciplines and countries, most of whom responded eagerly to his anarchic humour and his mordantly seditious line of thought.

However, the Institute’s sociology in education department was eventually disabled by Margaret Thatcher’s campaign against radicalism in teaching, and John was obliged to take early retirement when the subjects he taught were purged from the curriculum.

Born in Rochdale, now in Greater Manchester, he was the son of John Hayes, a motor and components engineer, and his wife, Mary (nee Hardwick), a florist. From Manchester grammar school he went to Oriel College, Oxford, where he read classics, graduating in 1958. It was there that we met and became life partners for the next 63 years.

After Oxford, John became a teacher of classics at St Peter’s school in York and then the City of London school, while simultaneously reading for a further degree in the sociology of education at King’s College London, where he was recruited as a lecturer by Bernstein.

Once he had left the Institute of Education he became a private tutor, working from his home in Greenwich, south east London, where people of all levels of academic ambition sought him out.

At home he loved to cook, and to entertain his many friends in the worlds of art and literature, who included the writers Angela Carter and Carmen Callil, the film producer Derek Granger, the literary agent William Miller and the artist David Hockney.

He is survived by me and by three nephews.

John Cox

The GuardianTramp

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