Sad News

22 Sep 2012

Photo: Taken on the afternoon of Tuesday 18th September at Princess Alice Hospice


This is a quick post to let everyone know that our dear Mike died very peacefully at the hospice on Friday September 21st at 12:20pm. Chrissy, Louise and Rachel were all at his side. He was surrounded by love. 

We will write a more detailed entry to the blog in the next few days, but in the meantime tune in to radio 4 today at 18:00 as Nick Higham will be broadcasting an obituary. 

There will be a memorial service in due course, details to follow. 

User Comments

John Connor - 22 Sep 2012

Mike's sad passing

Always a measured voice of reason Mike's insightful contributions to the education debate, based as they were on a deep knowledge of his subject and a passion for equality of opportunity, will be sorely missed, now more than ever. His death has affected me as much as the death of Ted Wragg. Where will the balance come from now? A dark day for us all, and my condolences, prayers and thoughts to his family.

Nathan - 22 Sep 2012

Sincere condolences

So sorry to hear of Mike's passing, my thoughts are with the family at this desperate time. What a great man.

Gary Duffy - 22 Sep 2012


Dear Chrissy, Louise and Rachel, I am so very sorry to hear this news. In many years working at the BBC with Mike my memory of him is of a person of the greatest integrity and decency who was a pleasure to know. This blog reflected all of that. He will be greatly missed. At a difficult time for your family I hope it helps to know the huge love and respect felt for him by so many who had the pleasure to cross his path, Gary Duffy, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Jenny Watts - 22 Sep 2012

Sad News

In the early 2000s Mike did a piece for BBC News on the tough, failing school I was teaching in. We were oppressed on all sides by misinformation but Mike produced a brilliant, fair and sensible item which served to make us teachers feel slightly better about the way the media treated us. I sent a message via a BBC technician to thank him for such a decent report. I hope he got it. Either way, I'm grateful to him for his sensitivity. A journalist of his quality is rare and he'll be much missed.

Pam Reynolds - 22 Sep 2012


Dear Chrissy, I was standing in the peaceful surrounds of Clayhidon church when I was given the very sad news about dear Mike. He was such a delightful person to know. Our very, very deepest sympathy to you and all the family. I'm sure the Clayhidon congregation will want me to pass on their love and condolences. Pam.

Katie Finigan - 22 Sep 2012


I am so sorry to hear about Mike..I worked with him at the BBC - such a lovely ma, It was a pleasure and a privilege to have known him. My thoughts are with you all, his family.

david nove - 22 Sep 2012

today's news

I was saddened to read of Mike's death. I always found both in his broadcasting and writing a knowledgeable and fair minded journalist.

My sympathies to all the family.

Martin Bright - 22 Sep 2012

Mike Baker RIP

Mike was a model journalist: careful with the facts, but passionate when it counted. He was the elder statesman of education reporters when I was coming through and a fine example to us younger hacks. His family should be very proud of him

elizabeth stawicki - 22 Sep 2012

sad news

Oh my God, I can't even comprehend it. No words can describe how sorry I am. Please know that you and your family are in our prayers.

Sara Bubb - 22 Sep 2012

Wonderful Mike

So so sorry to hear about Mike. I can't quite believe it. He's been writing with such a lot of energy and wit. So sorry for Chrissy, Louise and Rachel ... and the whole of the education world. He was top man.

Yoshihiro Fujii - 22 Sep 2012


Only two months ago, he joined our small pub meeting at Raynes Park.
We drank beer, he drank just water, but he smiled and talked to us lots about his fun for bike. I can still see his smiling face in my mind. So sad.

Tim Devlin - 22 Sep 2012

Really sad

I too am really sorry to hear this news. Mike was brilliant at his job. He was an inspiration. No one could have fought harder than him. My condolences to the Baker family. Tim Devlin

Helen - 22 Sep 2012

So sad

It was only on reading about Mike's death that I discovered his blog and so spent time a thoughtful while reading about his journey. What a testimony to the man it is. I'm so sad for you, his family and his friends, that you have lost such a courageous man.

Tony Halpin - 22 Sep 2012


Please accept my deepest condolences. I spent many teacher union conferences as a journalist in Mike's company. I remember him as unfailingly kind, courteous and deeply knowledgeable. He will be sorely missed and long remembered by many, many people.

David Libbert - 22 Sep 2012


So sorry to hear this sad news. I got to know Mike as a result of his fantastic work presenting programmes for Teachers TV. A talented journalist on paper, on radio and on-screen, who managed on a daily basis the incredible feat of quickly identifying the critical implications of changes to the education landscape, ably interrogating those involved, and then broadcasting that back to the rest of us, in a balanced, clear manner, so that we too felt we understood. He was a real gent, with an amazing strength of character that shone through in how he went about dealing with his cancer, including of course writing this inspirational blog. He will be sadly missed.

Geoff Barton - 22 Sep 2012

Sad News

So sorry.
I've posted my immediate thoughts about Mike's death here:

Ross McGill - @TeacherToolkit - 22 Sep 2012


I only had the privilege of meeting Mike once for a Teachers TV mtg after the White Paper was published. He was charming, informative and quite an inspiring man, demonstrated by his calm demeanour hosting a collection of bigwigs and egos all in one room.
I have followed his media and blog journey ever since we met and was sad to hear when he became ill shortly after Our meeting. He will be clearly missed by everyone connected with education and I send all my best wishes to his family and closets friends.

John and Nicola - 22 Sep 2012

Mike Baker

It was our priviledge to have known Mike over the past 5 years, bothe he and Chrissy injected into our little community an enormous injection of enthusiasm and fun in whatever event we were doing. Mike will be sadly missed by a great many people in Clayhidon and our thoughts and prayers are with Chrissy, Rachel and Louise.

Charles Woodroffe - 22 Sep 2012

Great friend.

Mike was the best kind of friend we could ever have and I shall miss him very much. My deepest sympathy for such a sad loss to Chrissy, Louise, and Rachel.

Naomi Rose - 22 Sep 2012

Mike Baker

Dear Chrissy,

So sorry to hear the news of Mikes passing. Thinking of you and your family at this truly sad time. I am also full of the greatest admiration for Mike, and the way he coped with having cancer, but also for you Chrissy, your devotion and care was humbling to us all.

sukey firth - 22 Sep 2012

To Mike's family...

I worked with Mike through 7 years of The Learning Curve, BBC Radio 4's education magazine programme, and on a 4 part documentary series about the history of the primary school. I learnt a lot from him. He was a brilliant and lovely man, with a great sense of fun, and he was extremely proud of his wife and daughters. All best wishes to you.

Andy Day - 22 Sep 2012

Lasting legacy

I never got the chance to meet Mike. But through his work with the BBC, writing in the Guardian and his blog - I felt I had. Such was the intimacy of his words and the honesty with which they were wrought. My daughter, who is in her second year of teaching English at a secondary school in York put on twitter today : "In 1st year of uni, before I considered teaching, Mike Baker made me realise how important education is and how passionate I am about it." From one proud father, to another; thanks, Mike.

Steve Smith - 22 Sep 2012

Mike Baker: RIP

I am very very sorry to hear this news. I worked with Mike over the years, most recently when I was President of Universities UK from 2009-2011. I am absolutely certain that Mike didn't agree with most of the things I was saying, but he always treated me with respect and was more knowledgeable about education than any journalist I worked with. He was also one of the genuinely nicest and most decent people I have met. I send my sincere condolences to his family. I only hope that they get some comfort from knowing how respected and admired he was. Steve Smith

Jim Webber - 22 Sep 2012

What a Guy

Mike was a great guy and will be sadly missed. Our commiserations to you and the family.
Mike's skills as a journalist are well known and ably demonstrated through this blog. I was lucky enough to witness Mike chairing a meeting back in April. I should not have been surprised, but Mike was a revelation - warm, witty, well informed and yet modest as ever, never once trying to show how much he knew. He put both audience and speakers at ease; his gentle hand on the tiller made for a wonderful evening of genuine learning and discussion. It was a Masterclass in the art of chairmanship and it was aesy to see why he was in such demand. And he was in great form afterwards... a really good last memory of Mike.

Fiona Godfrey - 22 Sep 2012

Rest in Peace Mike

Such sad news. My sincere condolences to you Chrissy, Louise and Rachel. I never knew Mike but felt that I did from reading his posts. He was such a brave man. My husband died of lung cancer last autumn, so my thoughts are very much with you. The care of hospices is so precious at these times: I am very glad that the end was peaceful, as it was for my dear Ken.

Take good care of each other,

Carrie Quinlan - 22 Sep 2012

I'm so sorry. I worked with Mike on conferences he chaired. I worked on a lot of conferences and always cheered up if I knew he was chairing. A fine, informed and thoughtful man.
I've just started a PGCE. He bears a chunk of the responsibility/blame.

Pixie Maynard - 22 Sep 2012

Rest in Peace Mike

I came late to Mike's blog, my daughter Sarah having met him briefly in the day room at The Royal Marsden as she goes through her fight against her cancer. He inspired her so much and I know she will join me in offering Mike's family our sincere condolences and I am sure she will add her own message.

Joshua Rozenberg - 22 Sep 2012

A fine colleague

Mike really was as lovely to work with as everybody says. He was frustrated and annoyed when things went wrong, as we all were. But he somehow managed to rise above it all. The one consolation is we have an archive of his work -- ranging from this blog, through articles and books to his appearances on radio and television. Everyone will be able to remember him as he was.

Mark Wyatt - 22 Sep 2012

Sad News

Peace and rich memories surround you all.

Stevie Pattison-dick - 22 Sep 2012

Such sad news

Dear Chrissie

What sad news. I am so sorry. Mike was truly a gent and fun to work with. Totally professional. My thoughts are with you all. Stevie x

Tim Miles - 22 Sep 2012

So very sorry to hear Mike died. I can't really take it in. Though it isn't unexpected, it's a tragedy that such a brave soul has passed. I worked alongside him for a number of years as an education correspondent and was always slightly in awe of him, at the same time as appreciating a warm professional friendship. He was the ultimate hack, and a lovely man. I have to say his bearing during his long illness epitomised the man. He fought it with courage and enduring curiosity and managed to make our lives richer in the process, by making so little of what would have destroyed a lesser man. What a hero.

Ronnie MacFarlane - 22 Sep 2012

Dear Mike Baker

I am so very sad to hear of Mike's death. I'm shocked because he seemed indestructible in spite of everything. He is one of the lovliest, kindest, best correspondents I have ever worked with at the BBC. My sincere sympathies to his family. It was an absolute pleasure and honour to have known and worked with Mike.

Kevin - 22 Sep 2012

I was so sad to hear the news.
Mike was such a nice man.
My thoughts are with you and your family.
Mike was be missed by many.

Sara Nathan - 22 Sep 2012

So sorry to hear the news

Mike was a stalwart, and conscience of our News Trainee group 1980 - 1982. He was always up for a debate on journalistic ethics and had us all examining what we did (and why we accepted a freebie to France as part of our training!)He was a lovely man to work with - as so many have said.
We hadn't got together much recently but I remember our last reunion fondly.
All condolences to the family.

Brenda Phillips - 22 Sep 2012

I worked with Mike many years ago. Helpful and humorous, he was a wonderful person in every respect,and had great regard for others. Much sympathy to Chrissy and family.

Kevin Bakhurst - 22 Sep 2012

Such sad news

Having worked with Mike for the best part of 20 years, I am so sorry to hear the news. Mike was a fine journalist with a knowledge of his specialism second to none. More than that - a thoroughly decent, honest and kind person. And with a good sense of humour. His bravery and wit shone through his blog over the last year. My sincere condolences to his family.

Alison Green - 22 Sep 2012

Such sad news.

Mike and I were diagnosed at a similar time of very different cancers. He helped me through my chemo journey and I hope I helped him. The world has lost one of the good ones. Blessings be on you all.

Liz Holden - 22 Sep 2012

Mike and his family

What a tragic loss. I worked with Mike nearly 30 years ago at Westminster when he was a passionate young journalist, with BBC values running through him like Blackpool Rock. I admired his later education reporting so highly - I left the BBC five years ago to become a music teacher, and have hugely enjoyed his authority on the world I have recently joined. Throughout his blogs there was a delightful theme of pride in his talented, achieving, supportive, loving family. I will probably never meet any of you, but through the internet I know what fantastic people you are. Grief is indeed the price we all pay for love. My very best wishes to you all. Liz

Richard Gould - 22 Sep 2012

Such sad news

Mike was an inspirational trustee at Villiers Park Educational Trust for several years. In addition, he was such a wonderful person to know and I feel privileged for having done so. I will miss him and send heartfelt condolences to his family.

Rebecca Bremner - 22 Sep 2012

Sad News

Very sad to hear of the passing of Mike. I never had the pleasure of meeting him but have enjoyed his insight into the world of education for many years. My love and best wishes go out to all his family.

Jon Silverman - 22 Sep 2012


Mike was a colleague and friend for over 30 years and I will always cherish our last meeting at his home the week before his untimely death. He was still smiling, looking forward to watching England-Ukraine on TV and still engaged with the world. It was a privilege to know Mike and thoughts are with Chrissy, Rachel and Louise.

Sylvie - 22 Sep 2012

To Mike's family

I never met Mike in person but I have the greatest admiration for him. He wrote beautifully about his journey and every sentence shows who he was. I was looking forward to receiving news from him and will miss greatly his clever take on things. My heart goes to his family and friends. It was a priviledge to share Mike's thoughts.

Simon Gallimore - 22 Sep 2012

May his memory inspire us all

It was my privilege to work with Mike briefly at the BBC before I got to know him much better working at Teachers TV. On the News, Conference Specials and other programmes his expertise and natural gifts as a communicator and a journalist made him a real star of the Channel. To watch him summarise a weeks developments in Education in exactly three minutes and forty five seconds (or whatever else we allocated him) was a joy. My sadness today is tempered by the sure knowledge that his memory can inspire others to achieve good things as he did. I never met his family but I can guess at the terrible sense of loss they must be feeling. My sincere condolences to you and rest assured the thoughts of many are with you.

John Connolly - 22 Sep 2012

A true gent.

I had the pleasure to meet Mike a few times in the last couple of years, and I'm so pleased that I (slightly) got to know him. A genuinely good man - both professionally (he was absolutely required reading for anyone interested in education, and right about almost everything) and personally. Many condolences.

Carol - 22 Sep 2012

I'm so very sad to hear this news. I've been in awe of how he lived his life and how he dealt with his illness. It is hard to comprehend how he found the energy to keep in touch with us and enlighten us even in the last days of his very special life. He has touched so, so many of us. Thoughts, of course, with all close friends and family of Mike's.

Tom Kealy - 22 Sep 2012

I am so sorry to hear of Mike's death. We only met him a year ago, but all of us loved and appreciated his company in the workshop, it was a privilege to have him with us and to be able to get to know him. He clearly enjoyed working with wood and making his furniture. We will miss him. Our thoughts and love go to you and your daughters Chrissy.

Frances Wedge - 22 Sep 2012

Sad loss

Mike has helped me, and others, come to terms with dealing with the reality of this dreadful disease, helping difficult decisions to become easier and a greater undrstanding of how to cope. He was obviously surrounded by love and this outweighs everything. Thankyou for sharing and I hope his family has all the support and love in the world during this time of loss

Ros Coffey - 22 Sep 2012

I am so sorry to hear this sad news. I always enjoyed reading his work on the BBC website. I was then fortunate to bump into him when he came into Teachers TV, he always seemed to be a ball of energy and his reports were always so incisive and informative. I read his blogs over the last couple of years and was so hoping that he would win this fight, especially as he had such a strong positive attitude. I shall miss his wit, humour and understanding of what is really happening in UK education. I am so very sorry for your loss.

David Burton - 22 Sep 2012

I am so sorry to hear the news of Mike's death. Having known him briefly in recent months I was enormously impressed by his hugely positive attitude to life and his immense courage in facing his illness. My last memory of him was cycling down the hill at Rosemary Lane with a smile and a wave. May God bless you Mike.

SUE LITTLEMORE - 22 Sep 2012

So many laughs

I learned so much from working with you , Mike.
We had lots of good conversations and discussions about education ..but most of all we had a lot of fun and lots and lots of laughs .
You will be so hugely missed .

Our thoughts are with Chrissy , the girls and all of Mike's family.

Maddie McGowan - 22 Sep 2012

Thankyou for everything

Dear, dear Mike. One of the kindest, most generous people I have met. I've lived through your past 18 months with you through your blog and feel privileged to have shared your honest reflections and insights - what a lot about life and what's important you have taught me. Night night

Adrian Everitt - 22 Sep 2012

A gentle man

Chrissy, Rachel and Louise:

Love & thanks for all the times you welcomed me and my family into your home on our trips back to the UK. Mike was a very lucky guy to have you three in his life; but then, of course, he totally deserved such luck.

I remember Cambridge tutorials: we paired up in our first year, and he'd often cover my back when I'd typically failed to do the required reading or essay writing for that week. I recall his love of jazz and unwaveringly polite disdain for anything so ridiculous as rock music. Punting on the Backs comes to mind, as well as hundreds of other careless youthful activities. And it's hard to forget the one time I said or did some dumber-than-usual thing - can't remember what - and he put me instantly in my place by nearly busting my fingers! Yes, indeed, a truly gentle man, but not one to stand much nonsense.

In all, a quiet guy but always impressive. A massively decent man.

My family only met Mike and all of you a few times, of course, but we are so grateful for the care and warmth that met us on each occasion. Those visits were always a serene highlight of our trips 'home'. The chairs out in the garden; the book shelves and piles of newspapers; Chrissy's organic food; Rachel and Louise's gerbils! And the comfy bed, of course - so appreciated after a 16-hour flight, that's for sure.

Chrissy, Louise & Rachel: love to you all. Stay strong and bright.

And I'm not a religious man, but the words seem right: "May God bless and keep you always."

Simon Waldman - 22 Sep 2012

RIP Mike

Mike was one of the true gents of his often less-than-gentlemanly profession. Calm, kind - but always striving for the best. And something of a rottweiler on the soccer pitch: I still have a (admittedly small) scar on one foot 30-odd years after a Baker-special tackle. Thinking of his loved ones - Mike, you'll be sadly missed

Robert Rees - 22 Sep 2012

My sincere to condolences

My sincere condolences to Mike's family at his untimely passing. Mike was always head and shoulders above all his colleagues in the education press, and his were the reports that I would read first. It was always a thrill when he covered projects that I was involved with, although it was often a double-edged sword as his insight meant he could easily see any flaws and inconsistencies.

I hope Chrissy, Louise and Rachel can find some solace in the affection and respect that Mike earned among so many people in the education community.

Fran Ryan - 22 Sep 2012

Thoughts and prayers

I was so very sorry to hear of Mike's death, his blog was inspirational as was his work in education. What an amazing man, my thoughts are with the family as you start the next stage of this very sad journey. Time doesn't heal but it does make it easier to deal with. My prayers are with you all.

Tony Smith - 22 Sep 2012

So sad. Such a lovely man. What more can I say?

Maria Tereza Gomes - 22 Sep 2012

Great man

We're deeply sorry to hear that. Geraldo and I will always remember him as one of the greatest guys we ever met. He was smart, funny, friend and gentleman. Chrissy, Louise & Rachel, God bless you. Geraldo & Tereza (Brazil)

Richard Sambrook - 22 Sep 2012

Such a sad loss

Mike was a great correspondent and a wonderful colleague. Authoritative, insightful, clear in his work and warm, witty and supportive as a colleague. Someone of real integrity. All qualities that have also come through this blog over the last year or so. It's unfair, particularly to his family, that he has gone so soon - but he was true to himself up to the end and those of us who knew him will remember him with great affection. Thoughts very much with Chrissie Rachel and Louise...

John Cary - 22 Sep 2012

Very sad news

Mike was a terrific colleague, generous with his knowledge, unfailingly polite in the face of the often ludicrous demands of producers, and always on top of his subject. It was always a pleasure to work with him on Today and elsewhere in the BBC. My sympathies to Mike's family.

Fergus Walsh - 22 Sep 2012

A wonderful man

I had the pleasure and privilege to sit opposite Mike for several years. He was universally acknowledged to be the kindest and most generous of colleagues, yet with a steely determination to get to the heart of the stories he worked on. A wonderful journalist and broadcaster, he was also huge fun to be alongside. My sincere sympathy to Chrissy, Louise and Rachel

Karen - 22 Sep 2012

Very Sad

Very saddened to hear of Mike's death. He was a rarity in modern journalism in that he provided insight and intelligent commentary, with no hint of sensationalism.

May he rest in peace. My deepest sympathy to Chrissy, Rachel and Louise, and indeed to all his friends and loved ones.

Rebecca Cole - 22 Sep 2012

A true inspiration!

I lost my father 7 years ago this month to a debilitating disease. Reading Mike's brave and courageous words about his hospital experiences (many of which I visited with my father) brings back vivid memories. I discovered Mike's brilliant wit and investigative journalism many years ago (as I work in the education field). it is with a sad poignancy that this good man has been taken so young. Thank you for all your work and intellect - we are all a lot richer for it.

Annabel Harper - 22 Sep 2012

Mike Baker

So very sad to hear this news. Mike was a gentleman to work with, always professional, and utterly reliable in his assessment of what was going on in the world of education. My thoughts are with his family.

linda butler - 22 Sep 2012

mike baker

a great shock to read of Mike's passing. A lovely man, gentle, kindly, thoughtful, always respectful of others. A truly good colleague during the seven years or so I had the privilege of working with him. my sympathies to his family.

Jonathan Maher - 22 Sep 2012

Mike Baker

A shock to hear of Mike's passing, I'd always enjoyed his measured and knowledgable articles on BBC News.
I had been wondering what had happened to Mike as I no longer saw him on BBC News. Its saddening to read of his passing via Twitter.
I didnt know Mike personally or professionally but feel a loss of a passionate education journalist.

Liz Shaw - 22 Sep 2012


Chrissy, Rachel & Louise -
So very sorry to learn of Mike's death. A colleague for 20 years, a Kingston neighbour and a fellow Saturday morning Pilates devotee, he really was a most impressive person. Diligent, determined and, not least, utterly decent. I know from speaking today to those who saw him in the past few days that, as ever, he was positive and engaging right to the end. The comments here are testament to the regard in which he is held. My thoughts are with you all.

jak clark - 22 Sep 2012

life n death

i have a very close friend- the wife of by closest mate - who is also dying and reading this blog has helped me understand, just a little what they are going thru and trying to come to terms with, thank you Mike Baker, rest in peace mate, rest in peace

Anna - 22 Sep 2012

Almost 3000 Teach First participants shared a moment of silence in memory of Mike at the Teach First Challenge 2012 event today. He did great, inspirational work in promoting what education could and should be in this country with real integrity.

Sophie Hutchinson - 22 Sep 2012

A Treasure

I had the great fortune to work alongside Mike several years ago. I was new to education and probably asked a lot of obvious questions. Mike was so incredibly patient, generous with his knowledge and kind. He helped me more often than I can count. I will always remember him with immense gratitude and great fondness. He was one of life's treasures and I wish him peace.

Lindsay - 22 Sep 2012

What sad news. Mike will be missed enormously – he was a charming man, a journalist with great insight, talent and integrity. His cancer blog was humbling, moving, inspiring and courageous. My heart goes out to Chrissy, Rachel and Louise - Mike wrote so lovingly of you all.

David Miliband - 23 Sep 2012

Sad News

I am very sorry indeed to hear the very sad news of Mike's passing. Working on education policy in the 1990s, and then serving as Schools Minister in the 2000s, Mike's reports on education were always an education in themselves. He brought humanity and commitment as well as rigour and insight to his role. I always felt he wanted the policies to work - even when he thought they were half-baked - because he believed in the potential of children. Please accept my most sincere condolences.

Danny Shaw - 23 Sep 2012

Mike was the very best specialist journalist - he knew his subject inside out, had a passion for it and could explain it in simple terms. Above all - he was a really, really nice guy.

Emily Selvadurai - 23 Sep 2012

Thank you, Mike


You taught me so much. Sitting next to you all those years, I watched how you worked and learnt what journalism should be - that mix of diligence, fairness and good heart. I just think now of all the people you helped. You were generous to me and to so many others. There was nothing grand about you. I loved that you treated your work so seriously but also had a sense of fun. Those long car journeys to education conferences listening to your beloved jazz, or dare I say it - your secret affection for Showaddywaddy when we were demanding the Spice Girls are happy, happy memories. All I can say is I am enormously proud to say I was 'Mike Baker's Producer'. I will miss you. My thoughts are with Chrissy, Louise and Rachel.


Katrina - 23 Sep 2012


One of the best conference chairs we ever had and a wonderful man to work with. Just a wonderful man. Heartfelt thoughts to you his family.

Linda Clark - 23 Sep 2012

So so sad. i had the priviledge of Knowing Mike via Chrissy for nearly 30 years and although we didn't see each other often one didn't need to in order to realise what a special man Mike was. As Alison said 'The world has lost one of the good ones' my thoughts are with you Chrissy Louise and Rachel be strong and secure in the knowledge that you gave him all the love in the world.
Linda. Shanghai.

Linda Clark - 23 Sep 2012

So so sad.I have known Mike, via chrissy, for over 30 years and although we didn't meet that often, one didn't need to in order to realise that he was a very special person, loved and admired by all who came into contact with him. As Alison said "The world has lost one of the good ones" Chrissy Louise Rachel - love you all take care of each other as I know you will.
Linda. Shanghai.

Laurie - 23 Sep 2012

Thinking of you all

I'm so sorry to hear this Christine. We have no phone coverage so this is the only way I can message you. I will try to connect with dad. Thinking of you all and Mike. My overriding memory of him is how much I looked forward to seeing him and how much I enjoyed his company as a kid and as an adult. Love Laurie

Dick Davison - 23 Sep 2012

One of the finest. A great journalist - independent, fair-minded, clear-sighted, analytical, courageous and with a muscular and economical writing style. And a good man. All of which applied too to the way he faced the illness which has taken him from us too soon. His blog has been an inspiration. We will all miss him and our thoughts are with his family. Thanks for the privilege of knowing you, Mike.

Jon Williams - 23 Sep 2012

Mike was the consummate BBC correspondent: a real expert with a love of what he did and the people he met. There's no fine tribute to him - and to what he achieved - than the comments of those whose stories he told: a man of utter integrity who shunned ego, and who displayed untold patience when trying to explain to others (incouding me) why a story really mattered.

Chrissie Rachel and Louise: thank you for sharing him with us.

Libby Purves - 23 Sep 2012


He was the nicest guy, a model colleague, modest and clever and funny, and whenever we crossed over on the Education programme it was a treat. A loss to us all, as well as to his family.

Claire Donlan - 23 Sep 2012


Very sorry to hear your sad news.
I never met Mike but followed his blog and found it interesting, informative and inspirational.

Andy Bryan - 23 Sep 2012

Mike-so sad.

Chris, Louise and Rachel, I've been following Mike's blog constantly and was so sad to read about his passing on our return yesterday. What a lovely man with a beautiful family. Wishing you all continuing strength and love without him.He has helped so many people. Look after each other. Love. Andy x

Ivor Gaber - 23 Sep 2012


Such sad news. I really only got to know Mike after he left the BBC. We worked together on a number of projects - including the National Education Trust - where I came to appreciate his passionate commitment to educational equality. He was a man of great integrity, not a characteristic that is always associated with journalists. He will be deeply missed but fondly remembered. My condolences to Chrissie and the family.

Chris Ellis - 23 Sep 2012


As a picture editor I was always very happy to edit a story with Mike. He would always fully inform me of the story which made for a relaxed experience. I have many happy memories of a true professional, Chris.

chris lowe - 23 Sep 2012


Noone is perfect but some people get closer than others. Mike was a top man and a top journalist. The world enjoyed his company and benefitted from his skills. The tragedy is he surely had so much more to give. My deepest sympathies to Chris, Louise and Rachel.

Nikki Clarke - 23 Sep 2012


So very sad.

I was a news trainee with Mike and for many years a colleague in BBC News. He was always an absolute delight to work with, even when ever the Essex man he sent me to the far reaches of the central line to research the campaign to save the Epping to Ongar line.  His passion for importance of the Education brief, transformed our coverage and has made lasting impact. But above all he was one of the most thoroughly decent and good hearted people I have known, he will be greatly missed.

My condolences to Chrissie and the family.

Steve McCormack - 23 Sep 2012

R.I.P. Mike

I first met and worked with Mike in 1983 when we were young reporters in the BBC's Regional Parliamentary Unit. As journalistically thorough, meticulous and fair then as he was in broadcast, print and online to the very end, he also showed me many kindnesses, professionally and personally over the years. But among the memories that will last for me is an image of him engaging in, and recounting tales of, schoolboy, prank-ish japes; his was a humour clothed in an innocent sense of mirth and fun, and one never obscuring his essential kindness. Mike, Rest In Peace.

Norman Wells - 23 Sep 2012


I was at school with Mike and remember how consistently brilliant he was academically, on the sports field and as a musician - all achieved with characteristic modesty. We met up again 35 years later when I wrote a magazine feature about him; his success in the intervening years had not changed him a bit, and we remained in touch. I feel privileged to have known him.

Chris Yapp - 23 Sep 2012

Mike's passing

My thoughts are with you at this sad time.
At a time when respect for journalists is very low, it is good to remember Mike as a man of the highest integrity. Both his writing and in person he was a gentle, thoughtful and insightful man.

Rab Valentine - 23 Sep 2012

Mike So Sad

I came across Mike's blog last year after I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I have been lucky that I had surgery and chemo and will hopefully be one of the 9%. Mike's blog was written with such courage and showing great humanity that I was hoping he would be able to continue for much longer.
My sincere condolences.

Neil McDonald - 23 Sep 2012

I never met Mike but I read his blog. His journalistic talent was excellent. Other reports on education had me saying 'no, you have not got it'. This was never said with his reports. His blog was so full of courage and warmth. I only hope his family find the comfort in that so many people from all over the world felt the need to communicate how much they will miss him in whatever context they knew him.

david hoar - 23 Sep 2012


I only knew Mike through reading his compelling and brave blog - Please accept my sincere condolencies , what a lovely man he was.

Jo Thompson - 23 Sep 2012


Chrissy, I am so sorry to hear about Mike's death.
I, too, was in a way "at school" with him, as with a Mike (M) and Susie, we shared the No 70 bus to Colchester in the 70'sand then went each to our respective schools, as well as some Ipswich matches....
A fine, kind, courageous and very interesting man, and sadly distant, geographically, friend, who I was always proud to see on the Beeb, for what he said, and his care, and to follow both in his passion for education (which I hadn't spotted when we were fifteen), and then his Cancer Blog, which I too have read, and which helped a great deal understanding what several other friends of mine are also having to deal with.
I am so sorry he didnt make it - my very best to you, the girls, and the rest of his family.

janet cook - 23 Sep 2012

Mike - an old family friend

So sad and lost for words. Ive followed Mikes battle and it broke my heart. Our families have been friends for years. Mikes parents have always been in my life and although i hadnt seen Mike for years he was never forgotten and never will be. Deepest sympathies to all the family. Mum and dad are away so on their behalf I'm saying this. Live always.
Godfrey, Angela,Colin, Janet and Nicola (Cook) xxxxxx

janet cook - 23 Sep 2012

mike - an old family friend

Love always Mike. The Cook family.

Wendy Jones - 23 Sep 2012

Mike - a great colleague

Mike was one of the best colleagues one could hope for and probably the finest education correspondent of his generation - and I say that as a friendly rival for some years. He and I shared the education brief during BBC News' early bi-media days, he mainly TV and I mainly radio. Mike was a wonderful broadcaster on both media and his writing showed an unsurpassed grasp of education issues. But above all, he was a lovely man. My thoughts are with Chrissy whom I've never met but heard so much about from Mike.

Nora Dennehy - 23 Sep 2012


Such very sad news. I worked with Mike for many years at the BBC, he was a great journalist but more importantly he was a kind and caring person. His cancer blog has been inspirational for so many, myself included as I am caring for my husband who has cancer. It is typical of Mike that he wanted to share his experiences and help others even when he was so very ill himself. My thoughts and prayers are with Chrissie, Louise and Rachel.

Kay Symons - 23 Sep 2012


I only met Mike occasionally, as a fellow trustee of the National Education Trust, but it was often enough to be impressed by his consistently positive outlook, his infectious energy, his deep knowledge and wisdom and his unwavering integrity. He will be much missed.

Mark Mackley - 23 Sep 2012

Rest in peace

I hope the family will take comfort from the impact Mike's career had on many people. I always enjoyed his perspectives even if it meant that we teachers needed to east some humble pie!
A sad loss firstly for his loved ones & secondly for those of us who didn't know him personally but somehow feel we've lost a friend. Rest in Peace Mike.

Alban Thurston - 23 Sep 2012

Dear, dear Mike

I won't be alone here in counting a 30-year friendship with Mike as among the greatest riches of my life. Wise at 20, decent, patient, and steady as a rock, the kindness, courage, and decency of the bloke all just deepened with the years. Mike spoke with charity, discernment & sanity in a world increasingly going mad. The best friend you could have. Death is an impostor; one day, we will walk together once again, dear friend. May God bless you, as he has blessed us in letting us know you. The celebration of you continues.. and it is going to be long. Deepest of love to Chrissy, Louise, Rachel, Douglas & Joan.

Fiona and Maurice - 23 Sep 2012


Having worked with Mike on many events, he showed himself to be such a great professional, but equally proved to be such a gentle, kind and incredibly knowledgeable man. We all miss him so much, and feel honoured to have known him.

Yvonne Newbold - 23 Sep 2012

Condolences and thanks

Dear Chrissy, Rachel and Louise,

I was so sorry to hear the very sad news of Mike's death, my thoughts and prayers are with you at this very difficult time.

I only learnt about Mike's illness and Blog from the BBC News Website yesterday, so today I have read it from start to finish. I found it inspiring, moving, sad, happy, funny,and overwhelmingly, a deep sense of Mike's humanity and humility shines out of every post.I too am "negotiating" "attempting to overcome" and positively confronting my breast cancer. Although I am making radical changes to diet, exercise and lifestyle, Mike's resolve completely puts me to shame! I have, however, taken notes of many of the books and websites he recommended. Mike was very brave in taking the decision to share his experience of illness with others, particularly since he was already a public figure, such honesty must have been a very tough decision. His blog, however, will continue to inspire others like me who are still living with cancer, and I aspire to do it with such grace, candour and good humour as he managed it.

Please look after yourselves, sending every good wish to all 3 of you,

Love Yvonne

John O'Leary - 23 Sep 2012

A great friend and colleague

I can't bear the thought that we won't see Mike again. He was such a fantastic friend and colleague for so many years - a brilliant journalist and a man of total integrity, kindness and humour. My condolences to the family. We will all miss him terribly.

Allison Allen - 23 Sep 2012


Thank you so much for letting us know. I'm sure I was not the only person wondering how he was. I am so glad he passed with family beside him and this must help you too.

Mike was an amazing man and he touched so many lives, not least through this blog - whether he had met people, or like me, known through his work and blog. His persistent optimism, even when tempered by hospitals and the effects of the illness have made many examine their own attitudes and gain strength from his wonderful example.

He has had such a full life and yet, as someone above said, Mike was a truely gentle man who will be missed.

My thoughts are with you all.

Suzanne Yates - 23 Sep 2012

A wonderful colleague

I met Mike in 1986 when I joined the BBC's parliamentary unit as one of its few female staff. I treasured working with Mike who treated me with respect. He was to become a father for the first time and was quietly excited! He told me how he and Chrissy had driven the route to the hospital to calculate the timings. Over many years I worked with him in different situations and looked forward to assignments with him - he was always fair and truthful and absolutely dedicated to his brief - I often used to wonder how he got away with spending every Easter at the teachers' conference! Later, when I was a trainer, he would regularly come to speak to trainees and ask them to suggest ways he could have improved his reports - he was so modest and generous that he inspired them to speak up, even with criticisms. Chrissy, Rachel and Louise - I am so sorry for the pain he has been through and for the loss you are feeling. We were all blessed to have had him in our lives.

Rebecca Hanson - 23 Sep 2012

Khalil Gibran on Death

You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;
And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.
Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.
Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?
Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?
And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Penny and Carl - 23 Sep 2012

Goodbye Mike

what a privilege to have spent two days with Mike in July on 'the ride.' We felt we already knew him a little from his emails in the build up to our big bike ride. He had motivated us to keep going in our preparations and it somehow felt like meeting a kindred spirit and real friend when we arrived off the ferry in Holyhead. We talked as we cycled and shared stories and lots of laughter. I see him now overtaking me going down a very steep hill very fast, circling around the others and laughing as he passed us all. He told me he felt that being on his bike was being part of an experience that had no room for cancer so he would try to cycle to the end. He did, less than 3 months ago he cycled up hills and against strong winds with us. He shared Chrissie's cakes with us and we all picnicked by the side of the river. We have film footage Chrissie of Mike during the ride and some lovely photos of you both. We will send them when you are ready. I feel so sad this evening. Carl joins me in sending Chrissie, his girls of whom he spoke so proudly to us, and all his family and close friends our warmest thoughts and our very happy memories of Mike.

Julian Thomas - 23 Sep 2012

Fond memories


I heard your sad news from Jonathan on Friday afternoon. I feel privileged to have known Mike, and have good memories of one of the first times I met him in was the day before his interview for the BBC job, & he was sitting on the green outside Queens' with a gang of friends around him all taking it in turns to ask him difficult questions on current affairs. None of us succeeded in catching him out!

Julia & I will both be praying that you may find comfort and peace at this time.

Love to you & the girls.

Julian x

Cate Vojdik - 23 Sep 2012

Mike, the loveliest of souls

Chrissy, Louise and Rachel--I am so very sorry for your incalculable loss. Mike should have had many more years; the world will shine less brightly without him in it. Words can't express the sadness I feel. I hope you find some comfort in knowing the mark he made on so many lives, in so many ways, is lasting. My deepest sympathies,

Alison Banham - 23 Sep 2012

such sad news

Both Geoff and I and also my mum and dad are just so very sorry to hear the sad news about Mike. I have so many lovely memories of Mike, from a childhood holiday - our family and all the Bakers travelling to Germany in a camper van and Mike was always allowed to sit in the front - an influential character even then! Then onto crazy student memories of Cambridge - late nights in Emma, punting on the river, etc. etc! I also remember a great weekend in Clapham - Mike and Chrissey's hospitality, putting us all up and up with us all! - not long before they were married. Then more recently visits with Joan and Douglas en route for the West Country.Mike will be so sadly missed - our love to Chrissey, Louise and Rachel and Joan and Douglas

Louise Adamson - 23 Sep 2012


I was a fellow news trainee with Mike. It was clear even then what an exceptional journalist he would become. As everyone here has testified, he was a generous colleague and great fun to work with. I remember the sense of humour which Mike brought to our training sessions, but also the fact that he was someone who took his work very seriously and would always go the extra mile to make sure it was as good as possible. Above all, the word which springs to mind when I think of Mike is integrity. It was a privilege to have known him. Every sympathy to Chrissy, Louise and Rachel and to all his friends and family.
- Louise

John McIntyre - 23 Sep 2012


Mike was a very generous human being, hugely admired among BBC colleagues. He was relentlessly enthusiastic and one of the most likeable journalists at Television Centre. It's a measure of his personality and talent that so many are paying tribute. He set standards in work and life and few ever achieve. Goodbye, Mike

David and Linda Bryant - 23 Sep 2012


One of life's gentleman a true man of great courage I'll miss our chats on push bikes motor cycles and many and varied topics, allways a ready smile allways willing to lend a hand.
Clayhidon and cordwents farm wont feel the same,
Godbless mike

Emily Buchanan - 24 Sep 2012

The Ultimate Journalist

I so enjoyed working alongside Mike in the Education and Religion 'cluster' at the BBC in the early days of the Social Affairs Unit. He was always an inspiring role model - both a consummate professional and delightful company. The way he later turned his talents to writing about his own battle for life in such an informative, humourous and never self-pitying way will certainly remain a lasting legacy to other cancer sufferers. I send warmest wishes to his family at this horribly sad time. Emily

Fiona Anderson - 24 Sep 2012


I am so sorry for your loss. Mike was a great reporter and a kind considerate man. His beautifully written and utterly honest blog will be a real support for anyone else with cancer. With warmest wishes,
Fiona Anderson

Torin Douglas - 24 Sep 2012


Mike was an inspiration to us all, in every way. With very happy memories. Torin

Sarah Barclay - 24 Sep 2012


I worked with Mike in the Social Affairs Unit in the early 1990s. He was the kindest and most trusted of colleagues - always supportive, always ready with good advice and wise counsel when needed and a lovely person to work with as part of a team. I remember lots of lunches with him and the rest of the unit in the TV Centre canteen in the interlude between the "One" and the "Six." Mike was always ready with a smile and a great anecdote and above all I remember the way he talked so proudly and with such affection about his family. What a huge loss he will be to everyone who knew, respected and loved him.

Linda Brouwer - 24 Sep 2012

RIP dear Mike

I am so sad to hear about Mike's untimely death. Mike and I used to work together on a number of education conferences at NSA. He was always such a joy to work with and such an inspiration to do better. He is going to be missed by so many people. My sincere condoleances to Mike's wife and family, and close friends.

Amanda Hale - 24 Sep 2012

My deepest sympathies

Dear Chrissy, Rachel and Louise. Although I have never met you, I feel as though I know you from the warm way in which Mike always talked about you. I know you were his solace and support and the thing he valued most in life. Rachel, I have a son who is studying art like you and Mike and I would often swap notes about how hard you and Calum were working. I know he was extremely proud of both his girls.

I had the privilege of working with Mike over a period of years and getting to know him quite well.

A sharp intelligence, an enormous sense of decemcy and an ability to get to the hub of things. Mike was a person you could trust.

Most of all I remember Mike the man as an engaging, kind and very entertaining individual with a keen sense of humour. I also remember his enormous courage in sharing his cancer struggle with others and providing inspiration and support to so many, including my own family.

I feel very honoured to have known him and send my sympathies to you all. He was a lovely, lovely man.


Bill Hamilton - 24 Sep 2012

An example to us all

In life and in his courageous fight against cancer, Mike stands as an example to us all. Whilst serving as Home Affairs Correspondent, I had the very real privilege of sitting alongside Mike in the Social Affairs Unit and it was always a pleasure to return to the office after a long and difficult assignment to be met by Mike's reassuring smile and words of encouragement. He was a very special man in so many ways - an encourager, always optimistic and so knowledgeable about his specialist subject. Most of all, he was a friend in whom you could confide and always willing to impart words of wisdom. I'm so pleased to see that politicians and educationalists have paid their tributes to Mike on this site. It reflects the enormous respect that everyone had for him. He even used his own suffering and pain to help others in their battle against cancer. It was a pleasure to know him and my thoughts are with his family at this sad time. Bill.

Cathy Grieve - 24 Sep 2012

Sad news

Such very sad news - I would like to add my voice to all those who have talked of Mike's great insight into education, his talent as a broadcaster and writer and his integrity. As someone who worked in the BBC until a few years ago and who has been dealing with cancer in the family in recent times I have found Mike's blog to be inspirational, open and encouraging too. Brave right until the end. Our thoughts are with you all at this sad and difficult times.

Cathy Grieve - 24 Sep 2012

Sad news

Such very sad news - I would like to add my voice to all those who have talked of Mike's great insight into education, his talent as a broadcaster and writer and his integrity. As someone who worked in the BBC until a few years ago and who has been dealing with cancer in the family in recent times I have found Mike's blog to be inspirational, open and encouraging too. Brave right until the end. Our thoughts are with you all at this sad and difficult times.

Kelly Dickson - 24 Sep 2012

The loss of a great man

Villiers Park Educational Trust has lost a wonderful trustee. Mike was fabulous, helping us make connections and writing about our work. He was a kind man and a great journalist. But our loss is a small drop in the bucket compared to what his family must be feeling; our sincere condolences to Chrissy, Louise and Rachel.

Elspeth Jones - 24 Sep 2012

Great legacy

Very sad news but what a great legacy Mike leaves. His work in education is legendary and this cancer blog has made such an impression - just read the comments to see how much the entries have meant to others. Mike's courage has been a great inspiration.

Ken Jenkinson - 24 Sep 2012

Our deepest sympathies

It was with great sadness that Colchester Royal Grammar School learned of Mike's passing. A true gentleman and a fine example to the students of the school today, Mike is a former CRGS student who will live on long in the memory of those who had the good fortune to know him. Mike returned to CRGS with Chrissy in 2001 to present the prizes at the school's Speech Day and impressed us all with his effortless charm, natural modesty, good humour and obvious integrity. He is a former student we are immensely proud of. Our deepest sympathies to Mike's family from all at CRGS.

Josh Hillman - 24 Sep 2012

Mike ... you will be missed in every way

A significant proportion of those working in the field over the past two or three decades would agree with my assessment of Mike as the finest education journalist of his generation. But it wasn't just the output. He was always wonderful to deal with, developed incredible understanding of every issue he turned his attention to, and had 100% integrity as a commentator. A lovely man and a knowledgeable jazzer to boot. He will be sorely missed. Condolences to the family. You clearly have plenty of evidence of the enormous degree to which Mike was both loved and respected.

Conor Ryan - 24 Sep 2012

The finest education reporter

I was very sad to hear of Mike's passing. I worked with him on many stories over the years. He was simply the finest education reporter of his generation. Mike instinctively understood education stories and had a real knack for communicating them fairly and accurately in 90 seconds on a news bulletin, or in analysing the issues in other forum. Latterly, he became the best person to chair education debates and conferences. Mike was a genuinely nice and decent person, and he will be sorely missed. My condolences to Chrissy, Louise and Rachel.

Emily - 24 Sep 2012

Very sad news

Mike was a very kind and professional man. His experience and knowledge is a great loss to the world of education.

Malcolm Balen - 24 Sep 2012


The most decent of correspondents to work with, and the most decent of men.

Ben Gibbs - 24 Sep 2012

Heartfelt condolences

I've always felt able to turn to Mike's reporting of key education issues for balance and fairness, and learned to use it as a yardstick against which to measure the value of my own opinion. Meeting him in more recent years, I found him to be as warm, generous, and giving of his time as everyone here has said. Having lost my mum to a very similar cancer a few years back, I wish to express my admiration for the way he faced his condition, and for those who cared for him. My thoughts are with his family at this time.

Alexandra Frean - 24 Sep 2012


Mike was a guiding light to me when I started covering education for The Times. He was a great journalist and a generous colleague. My thoughts are with his family.

rebecca smithers - 24 Sep 2012

Farewell dear, brave Mike

I first met Mike fifteen years ago when I became education correspondent of The Guardian. Although I was the 'newbie' he was always friendly, kind and calm and unbelievably generous with his time. At my first experience of the Easter teachers' conferences - a mad scrum with great rivalry between the competing media - he gave me plenty of good advice on staying focused on what I considered to be the best and the right story. Mike sympathised when I had my own cancer diagnosis in 2008 and I could not believe it when I learned of his in April last year. He was so dignified to the very end. Mike was a guiding light who helped me so much more than he may have realised. We met the Duke of Edinburgh together at a teachers' reception at Buckingham Palace when Mike told him how many Easters he had spent away from his beloved family because of his work. My thoughts are with Chrissy and the girls at this sad time.

Jeremy Sutcliffe - 24 Sep 2012

A great and wise writer

I got to know Mike when I became comment and analysis editor for The TES after the 1997 general election. I quickly realised that this guy, who we all knew as such a fine broadcaster, was a natural analyst and writer who could explain with simply clarity the often complex and sometimes baffling world of education. He wrote with great insight about education politics and policy-making in an instinctively non-partisan way - no doubt something ingrained in him by the BBC.
I was very pleased today when The TES (which I left in 2009) contacted me to ask me to write something for this week's magazine. I'm greatly looking forward to it.
My condolences to Chrissie, Louise and Rachel.

Jeremy Jarvis - 24 Sep 2012

Mike Baker RIP

Dear Chrissie, Louise and Rachel, please accept the heartfelt condolences of family Jarvis. Diane and I were so sorry Mike was not well enough to join the CRGS re-union last month; we somehow all knew it would have been a sort of (temporary)good-bye.
My first memory of Mike (apart from the kudos he gained as being the first of us to shave) was his brilliance on the wing at rugby; he was the only good player in our house team and we all relied on him to score the points. Later we were up in Cambridge together, at different colleges, and I think it was our experience there that convinced him that with sensible policy the state system could produce the goods, because we had enjoyed at CRGS an education as academically excellent and as competitive on the sports field as any public school in East Anglia, but with a complete social mix and therefore a better all-round development of the child-man. All that was needed was continuity of sensible progressive education policy, with an emphasis on an opportunity of excellence for all.

I'll miss his wise take on things, especially our occasional pub re-unions in London, and I really think he was going to challenge strongly for the Fantasy League title this year...
I look forward to meeting him again in good time as I know this is just a parting not the end.
God bless.

Iain Hulland - 24 Sep 2012

Bless you, Mike

Dear Chrissie, Louise and Rachel

I cannot claim, sadly, to have known Mike as well as many of the other people who have posted such lovely comments, but in our time working together as Teaching Awards judges, on occasional projects via Teachers' TV and when he spent one of the happiest days I have known (when he visited our school) I learned that with Mike, what you saw was what you got, And what we saw was an exceptional journalist, an immensely sharp intellect and a wonderful man. It is impossible to over-estimate what we, as a profession, owe to Mike's honesty, integrity and courage. And those qualities shone through constantly in recent months. I enjoyed every minute spent in his company and will miss his voice of reason and of honour. Mike was indeed a true gentleman who, in his person, represented the best of us all. And most endearing of all, perhaps, was the deep love and pride he felt for you.

Lisa White - 24 Sep 2012

You gave of your experience and time so generously to so many of us, Mike. It was a real privilege to have had the opportunity over the past 20 years to have witnessed and worked with one of great journalists of our time. An inspiration. A consummate professional. A gentleman.

My deepest sympathy, Chrissy, Louise and Rachel.

James Westhead - 24 Sep 2012

Mike will be missed

These messages are eloquent testimony to how unique Mike was and how many people he touched during his life. I worked alongside him for many years covering education and social affairs for the BBC and remember him with great fondness. In a business sometimes prone to ego and shallowness, he was the most expert correspondent with genuine depth of knowledge yet also the most humble, wearing his expertise lightly. Mike was unfailingly generous with his time and his advice and helped me so many times. Even in recent years I have turned to him for his wise advice and he has always obliged. He will be missed by everyone who knew him and remembered as the best education journalist we have ever had and a very, very decent man. My sincere condolences to Chrissy and his daughters.

Lee Elliot Major - 24 Sep 2012


By far and away the most accomplished education journalist of his generation, and beneath the balanced observations a passionate believer in the potential of all children. Thanks, Mike, for all the enlightenment over many years.

Réka - 25 Sep 2012

We cycled across together Wales in July this year. Had chatted, laughed and puffed while pedalling or pushing our bike. we had such a lovely time and I am so glad we met and got to know him a bit. I will treasure those days.
I am so sorry Chrissy it must be mind boggling to loose such a lovely lovely darling man.

John Henrikson - 25 Sep 2012

So sorry

I am shocked and saddened to hear the news. Looking at the coverage and these comments, I'm reminded what a huge impact he had as a professional and friend. I feel lucky to have known him. Our best to Chrissy and the girls.

John Bayley - 25 Sep 2012

Mike Baker

What a shocking loss. Mike was one of the few clear, humans and rationale voice in education commentary. Deepest sympathies to his family.

Mary Curnock Cook - 25 Sep 2012

Sad News

The painfully sad news of Mike's death has travelled quickly around staff at UCAS. Many of our folk got to know Mike as a regular chair of some of our big annual conferences. Many conference chairs could learn from Mike who did meticulous preparation and really knew how to engage the audience. Some of our delegates also witnessed the treat of Mike transforming into a quiz show host in the evenings, his quiet sense of humour taking over.

We all thought so highly of Mike - not just as the knowledgeable professional that he was but as a real friend to education and to many of us who worked with him over the years. We will miss him. But not as much as his family to whom we send our sincere condolences.

Helen Ward - 25 Sep 2012


I'm a journalist the TES and had met Mike at press conferences, as has been said, he was always so generous and kind with his time. An inspiration. My sincere condolences and all sympathy to his family.

Andy Moreton - 25 Sep 2012

A sound man

I'm glad that the R4 1800 found space to record Mike's sad passing, because I can testify that he was as treasured by the radio newsroom as he clearly was by TV. His voice was gentle but authoritative, and his gift for explaining the nub of a story was invaluable in a medium in which words and sounds are the only thing you have. Condolences on the loss of a master craftsman.

Mandy Baker - 25 Sep 2012

I'm so sorry. I sat next to him for a year in Education and it was such a pleasure. I hope his family will be able to find comfort from all these heartfelt messages. He was a very special man. My sincere condolences.

Fiona McLean - 25 Sep 2012

Sad news

When I met Mike many years ago at the start of my career in education PR I was overwhelmed by his kindness and generosity of spirit. He always made time for a chat, had wonderful insight and was very modest about his own achievements. His passion for education was obvious. So too was his knowledge of policy and politics. His writing and reporting were incisive. His cancer blog a compelling read.
A true professional in every sense of the word.
His loss is great. So too was his contribution.
Condolences to his family

Justin Shaw - 25 Sep 2012

Tribute to Mike

I had the pleasure of working with Mike when he joined Communications Management as an associate immediately after his BBC career. He was an absolute delight and the most perfect gentleman I have met. His ability to cut through the complex and declutter the mysterious world of education policy was unparalleled. I was gutted to hear of his death at such a young age. I am proud to have had the chance to work with him. He won several awards at the CIPR's Education Journalism Awards - and his entries always stood out a mile! What a shame we have now lost him.

Lee Davies - 25 Sep 2012

Sleep well Mike

Further education has never enjoyed great public awareness, but in Mike Baker it had a real advocate. Whilst Mike's admiration for the FE sector shone through, he never shied away from asking those dificult, insightful questions of policy makers that very much became his trade mark. There has not been and will never be a more considerate, intelligent, balanced and eloquent education journalist. Mike stands apart from his peers and the entire education world shares some small part of his family's grief at his passing.

Chrissy, Louise and Rachel, please take considerable comfort from the fact that Mike was much loved, much admired and will be so very much missed.

Pallab Ghosh - 25 Sep 2012

To Mike's family

I first met MIke 20 years ago when I first started at the BBC as a correspondent. He was a kind and supportive colleague and he was also great at his job. For me he was a role model and a great ambassador for the BBC. WE'll miss him

Chris Harrison - NAHT President 2011-12 - 25 Sep 2012

So, so sad...

There will be many, many colleague HTs and their staff in schools across the UK who will want to register their sorrow at this very sad news. Mike was always so perceptive and well-informed about our profession that he was able to say in just a few words what the core issues were in his reporting. His detailed knowledge and support of the teaching profession will be remembered by us all.

Georgina chadwick - 25 Sep 2012

Just caught up with this amazingly brave journey of Mike's. We met briefly at the postbox on the corner of Staunton Road just a few weeks ago and I will always remember the cheerful comments and smile he gave. Sending love and special thought to you Chris, Louise and Rachel.

From all the Chadwicks xxxxx

Adrian Everitt - 25 Sep 2012


What a moving experience it is to read all these comments!

From those who knew him since childhood; others of us from university days; many, many from his so distinguished professional career; people who just met him quite recently riding bikes across Wales or wordworking in Devon; some who knew him only from reading his blogs; and right up to the lovely lady who bumped into him again just the other week by the postbox down the road!

Every one of us so consistently impressed and touched by our own personal contact with Mike. My goodness, what a man we have lost, indeed! But how privileged and inspired we obviously all feel.

Chrissy, Louise and Rachel: your loss is obviously so much greater and closer than ours, but please take some comfort in this remarkable outpouring of emotion and heartfelt respect that honours dear Mike, your husband and father. We remember him so warmly, and our thoughts and wishes are with the three of you.

Adrian Everitt - 25 Sep 2012


Of course, I meant woodworking in Devon, but 'wordworking' fits Mike quite happily, too!

Pat - 25 Sep 2012

His insight is needed more than ever

Mike was extremely accomplished in communicating the nub of an issue in the short time of a bulletin.
A rare skill and one desperately needed for such an important area for all the country's children.
A very sad loss.
My condolences to his family & friends.


George Turnbull - 25 Sep 2012

Mike Baker - a great loss

I first met Mike when he became an education correpodent at the BBC and he came to interview me about exam results the weekend before their release, and before the final results were known. We always did two interviews - one supposing the pass rate had risen and one supposing that they had fallen. I could always trust that he would use the right one - and he did. Entirely trustworthy, dependable and willing to listen. So much so, that a little time spent with mike could put educational matters into context in easily understood terms - and set the agenda and the line, for that day. My deeply felt condolences go to you Chrissy and the girls. Unfortunately we never met.

Rosemary Allan - 25 Sep 2012

Memories of Mike

Mike was, quite simply, one of the nicest people I have known - always very loyal and helpful to his friends, with a lovely sense of humour, devoted to his profession, but above all devoted to his family.

I first met him when he came to Oxford in 1993 to take up a fellowship on the Reuter Foundation Journalism Programme, of which I was then administrator. While working hard on his project, he was invaluable in helping a fascinating group of journalists from all parts of the world to enjoy life in Oxford, organising outings, parties and other events, often with the support of Chrissy who came to Oxford many times at weekends with Louise and Rachel. The following year Mike and I were among a small group who spent a memorable week in Moscow at a reunion gathering arranged by our mutual friend, Peter Polozhevets, editor of the nationwide education newspaper in Russia, who had been in Oxford with Mike, an unforgettable experience about which we often reminisced in later years.

Subsequently we met many times over the years, both at reunion gatherings in Oxford and when mutual friends revisited England; inded the last time I saw Mike was when he and Chrissy invited me to their home in Kingston during such a visit in January this year.

He will be missed so much by all his friends.

David Rowles - 25 Sep 2012


I do not believe that, whether in relation to public figures or private individuals, I have ever come across so many warm,consistent, sincere and heartfelt tributes to one clearly outstanding person. Although I have spent my entire professional life in education and have been a regular and admiring reader and listener when Mike wrote for the Guardian or spoke on the BBC, I now feel almost cheated because I never had the opportunity of meeting in person and talking to a man who was patently an exceptional human being. A very common theme runs through the tributes and portrays a person who was totally professional, full of integrity, always ready to encourage colleagues but never to betray firmly held principles. Alongside such admirable attributes, however, were evidently delightful human foibles such as jazz, beer drinking, cycling, pilates and support for Ipswich Town(!) - all of this accompanied by a sharp, wry sense of humour - as illustrated in his blog - and, perhaps most importantly of all a wonderful love for and appreciation of his family. I feel very saddened by his premature passing and great sympathy for Mike's family but also uplifted and inspired by the stoic and intuitive realism of his blog and the amazing strength and eloquence of the tributes paid to his incredible human spirit - I wish I had known him.

Martin Roberts - 25 Sep 2012

Rest in Peace Mike from a Cameraman

I had the greatest pleasure working with Mike on so many occasions. With his passing the memories come flooding back. We covered many aspects of education, and our work took us all over the country and abroad. I loved introducing him to Dublin Guinness, and showing him around my home patch when we covered a conference in Llandudno. We stood on the Great Orme and marvelled at the view together.
Mike was above all a team player, respecting the judgement of myself and my colleagues in the camera unit and appreciating our involvement and contribution in telling the story. He would display the same respect for his Producers and Picture Editors.
Rest in Peace Mike. We loved working with you. We loved knowing you. Cysgwch yn dawel.

Sue Purveur - 25 Sep 2012

To Mike's family.

Although I never knew Mike personally, I felt I knew him through his writing. He has been such a strength to me through some very dark days. His cancer blog greatly helped my husband who was diagnosed with the same illness in April of this year. We felt we could 'compare notes'. Mike's wit shone through and he made us both feel that we weren't going through this on our own. I lost my husband in August to this terrible disease and I can truly empathise. My thoughts are with you at this very sad time.

Judith Moritz - 25 Sep 2012


I worked with Mike a few years ago, when I was a new Correspondent, earning my stripes in the BBC Education department. I was pretty 'wet behind the ears', and I wouldn't have blamed Mike for giving me short shrift. But that wasn't his style at all. Instead he took me under his wing, and gave me the benefit of his incredible expertise. He offered advice, and guidance - both on the subject itself, and on how to behave as a journalist. In that respect he was a true role model. I was so upset to hear of his passing, and wanted to add my voice to all the others, so that Mike's family can see how many people he touched.

Judith Moritz. BBC North of England Correspondent

Rebecca Hanson - 26 Sep 2012

A correction, an explanation and a tribute

To my post above a correction:
Kahlil Gibran not Khalil Gibran

An explanation of the terms God, which I use in that post and angels which I used in the previous one.

While these words will convey diverse, rich and meaningful images to many for me for a long time these words did not.

I found me peace and release in the image of God as being a deep ocean of knowledge which is beyond our human framework of knowledge and which, though it is all around us, our physical lives and mental structures cast into shadow.

And for angels I imagine the forces which help us make good decisions which we cannot fully explain.

And a tribute in particular to Mike's work on Teachers TV in the days when we had a 'Right to Know'. He got the microphone and camera into the right places at the right times. The most startling insight this revealed for me was that the bright young things of education actually believed what they were saying and also that they knew what they were talking about, something other media failed to make me understand.

Jane Peel - 26 Sep 2012


The best of correspondents
The best of colleagues
The best of friends
The best of men

I'm so grateful to have seen you, still smiling despite everything, just the day before you died. The world would be a better place with more people like you.

Stephen Heppell - 26 Sep 2012


This is now the third time I've taken a moment to say something about Mike. Each other time I failed, in soft tears. I guess that says a lot about the kind of chap he was, and is enough.

Education will miss him too. Hugely.

Steff Easom - 26 Sep 2012


Terribly sad to hear the news of Mike's passing. I never met him, only spoken to him a few times, but through his blog he has touched the lives of hundreds of people and inspired them with his courage. My thoughts are with all his friends and family.

Sue Bloy - 26 Sep 2012


It was a great joy and privilege to spend time with Mike at holiday times with his family. Memories of Mike's tall tales and long stories around the Christmas dinner table with stay with me forever. Always ready with a kind word and encouraging support for those in need. They certainly broke the mould after Mike; he will be sorely missed from so many circles. My thoughts and love are with you all, Chrissy, Louise and Rachel, and also with the rest of the family.

Demitri Coryton - 26 Sep 2012

Mike Baker

So sorry to hear about the sad passing of one of the great education journalists. He was an inspiration to all of us who worked with him over the last 30 years. He was the face of the BBC, authoritative, deeply knowledgeable, fair and reasonable. His articles in Education Journal were among the best we ever published. It seems like only yesterday that he was comparing the annual WISE conferences in Qatar, his reputation spanning the world, and then suddenly the terrible news of his illness. Yet he turned even that into something positive. He was an inspiration, a good friend and he will remain in our thoughts for a very long time.

Colin Philpott - 26 Sep 2012


Mike and I were part of the same BBC news trainee cohort in 1980. From the start it was clear Mike was a highly conscientious and determined journalist but, as so many others have said, he was also a very decent, fun human being. It was a privilege to have known him. Thanks, also, Mike, for the ticket for the CPalace-ManU Cup Final many years ago! My sympathies to Chrissie and his daughters.

George Turnbull - 27 Sep 2012

Mike Baker

For some reason my original post has not got through, so I apologise if eventually two notices are posted. But I would not wish to miss this opportunity of paying my respects to Mike and offering my sincere condolences to Chrissy, Louise and Rachel.
When Mike became education correspondent at the BBC, I was with The Associated Examining Board and responsible for dealing with the media. The Annual A level and O level results, generally, were collated there. On the Saturday, before the results were issued – no one knew what the results were – but I used to do two interviews with Mike: one supposing more had passed and one supposing more had failed.
The agreement was – depending what the results were – Mike would user the appropriate interview. It always worked, and I was thankful for that.
We did many interviews over the years. He was the man you could trust. A true professional in every sense of the word – both as a journalist and an educator as many of the posts testify. He will be sorely missed.

John Beckett - 27 Sep 2012

Like many other participants in Higher Education admissions conferences I'm sure, I always knew they would be worth attending if Mike was chairing.He knew the issues and asked the right questions, underpinned by the search for fairness.After one such conference in Blackpool I chatted with Mike about the topics of the day on the train all the way back to London.A 3 hour journey felt like 3 minutes.His contributions will be sadly missed in our community.

John Andrew - 10 Oct 2012

Mike and I were colleagues in Polly Toynbee's Social Affairs Unit.Always affable and willing to help others he was a voice of reason,calm and good humour in a sometimes frantic atmosphere.It seems so unfair to lose someone who had so much more to give

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