Carrying the torch for girls’ education

Carrying the torch for girls’ education

Carrying the torch for girls’ education

First published in Your Views

This school year has seen the retirement from Connaught School for Girls of Ann Betts, who has served the school community as both a teacher of maths and geography since 1972 and as a head of department, in senior leadership and then finally as headteacher over the past 10 years.

Mrs Betts was the guest of honour at a governors’ meal at the Star of India with great cuisine and then was subject of glowing tributes over her peerless one school vocational career from the chair of governors, John Buniak.

At the end of the school year, this celebration evening was one where the year heads presented subject awards to deserving pupils for achievement and effort.

School choirs sang the musing ‘Isn’t She Lovely’, as the Caribbean steel drums beat a familiar rhythm as they played the outgoing headteacher with paeans of musical and singing praises. 

Mrs Betts was showered with thanks and gratitude from a packed school hall of parents.

The remarkable achievements of Mrs Betts as headteacher of Connaught School for Girls have been exemplified in consistent school leadership over four decades.

She has led the girls’ school into the top three performing in Waltham Forest in repeated year on year GCSE results, over 40 years.

At Connaught School for Girls there has also been matching value added by all staff, who have reached out and found the best potential and talent in each individual and generation of girls, in terms of academic and vocational subject teaching and in a multitude of charity fundraising and daily after school clubs, that have all been ranked above national average school community performance.

Mrs Betts has led Christmas carol singing in Trafalgar Square each year and been the mentor for countless language visits abroad, for the girls to be capable of competing in today’s competitive world of work, as young business people, historians, geographers and linguists and often classroom media scribes would write with photos in the in-house Connaught newsletter to parents.

Mrs Betts has succeeded in being a beacon of punctuality and the embodiment of the school motto of ‘seizing the day’.

It was said by staff members that she arrived at 7am and was always the last one to leave the school in the evening.

Mrs Betts has left all pupils and staff and all local former pupils with a glowing testament of exemplary professional duty to the education of girls and community service, across her peerless 41 years of teaching service and the gift of her leadership talent.

Mrs Betts, now qualified as an Ofsted inspector, will remain in the world of school management, as there is a new calling to pass on her decades of experience at Connaught School for Girls, namely to mentor new school leaders.

  •  The Girl Summit held at Walworth Academy on July 22 and watched live by many local schools declared that all girls have a human right to reach their full potential, despite too many lives being blighted by early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM), often performed as early as three years of age. 

One in three girls globally is now being married by age 18 and consequently becoming young mothers. That changes the course of their lives and denies them the enjoyment of childhood. There are some 55,000 women living in the UK today who were subject to early marriages at 15 or earlier.

The Girl Summit 2014 goals have all been endorsed by government. Each family and individual has a human duty to campaign and highlight the fact that at least 20,000 girls are at risk across local neighbourhoods of early years FGM

Patrick Smith,
Connaught governor, 1992.


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