Tributes paid to girls' school stalwart

THROUGHOUT her life she devoted her time educating girls and left a teaching legacy that will never be forgotten. Today tributes were paid today to teacher Elizabeth Joyce Atkinson OBE, of Bredfield, who died on January 30, aged 94.

THROUGHOUT her life she devoted her time educating girls and left a teaching legacy that will never be forgotten.

Today tributes were paid today to teacher Elizabeth Joyce Atkinson OBE, of Bredfield, who died on January 30, aged 94.

Her reign as head of Northgate Grammar School for girls lasted twenty years from 1953 to 1973.

During this time she revolutionised the standard of education by introducing more than fifteen extra subjects the girls could study, including Greek, Russian and Latin, as well as significantly increasing the pass rate from around half to three quarters.

She organised lectures and visits outside the school to broaden her students' knowledge. Her philosophy was to educate them for life and the girls learnt lessons they will never forget. All of this was achieved without neglecting the weaker students who she also inspired to make the grade.

Good friend and neighbour, Miss Vi Short, 88 said: "I worked at Northgate for 37 years. Elizabeth was a wonderful headmistress who was a firm disciplinarian but very just.

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"She always put the girls first and was extremely kind and considerate to other staff members."

She received her OBE in 1972 for her services to education. She met the Queen at Buckingham Palace and revisited three more times for afternoon tea.

During her retirement Elizabeth spent years researching her book about the school, entitled A School Remembered, which was very popular.

Born in Pentrich, Derbyshire in 1908 to a farming family, Elizabeth was one of five girls.

Studying Mathematics at Manchester University, she became the first-ever female president of the Students Union.

Her teaching career began in Woking, Surrey, then Borehamwood, Herts.

Also a warden of St Michael and All Angels Church, Boulge, for 30 years during which time she organised and raised the funds for the renovation of the roof and tower.

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