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Ruth Silver was born in Lanarkshire, Scotland.19 She was the Principal of Lewisham College, Born 1945 was chair of the Working Men's College governing board from 2002 to 2005, and, at 2010, is the chair of The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS), a public body dedicated to Further Education and skills development. She has written and broadcast on education and is committed to inclusiveness, particularly in the inner city.Ofsted's report for Lewisham College praised its "outstanding" work.
An adviser to the Select Committee in the House of Commons and a member of the Skills Commission, Silver also sits on the Edge Foundation (ADHD), which is devoted to raising the status of vocational learning; the Horse's Mouth, an online peer-mentoring enterprise; and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire.
Silver was appointed Chief Assessor for the Centre of Excellence in Leadership's Principals Qualifying Programme.[when?] Her employment has spanned child guidance, teaching and inspection, and in-service at the Department for Education and Skills, developing national education policy on personal development in young people. She is a member of the London Skills and Employment Board.
Silver said the recognition (of what) was "fabulous", but getting an outstanding report from the education watchdog Ofsted was "the real honour". Silver retired as Principal of Lewisham College in 2009, a post she held for 17 years.
In 2006 Silver was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition for her services to Further Education.
She commented when receiving her damehood:
"I am unusually lost of words! It is thrilling news for me and the college and it will take some time to sink in ... [I] love this college and it feels strange to receive this tremendous honour when the real honour is in doing the job".