The Lord Lingfield is the former Pro-Chancellor of Brunel University and his appointment as Knight Principal of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor (Chairman of the Knights' Council) was approved by HM The Queen in 2006. He was knighted (as Sir Robert Balchin) for services to education in January 1993. He was Director General of St John Ambulance for five years in the 1980s and was a senior education policy adviser to the Government throughout the early '90s.
He devised and ran the national programme for autonomy in state schools and was Chairman of the Grant-Maintained School Foundation from 1989 — '98. He was the founding vice-chairman of the Funding Agency for Schools. He chaired the Commission on Special Needs in Education for the Rt Hon David Cameron from 2006 to 2010 and is currently chairing a government Review of Further Education and will prepare a report for the Secretary of State in the Autumn of 2012.
He has been a teacher, lecturer and company director and is the Founder Chairman of The English Schools Orchestra and of the League of Mercy, a charity which encourages and recognises voluntary work in caring for the sick. He is also the Honorary Colonel of the Yorkshire and Humberside ACF and is a great supporter of cadet music. Lord Lingfield was created a Knight of the Order of St John in 1984 and has several foreign awards. He has several honorary doctorates and fellowships, including that of the City and Guilds of London Institute. He was appointed a Peer for Life of the United Kingdom in 2010.