Dame Judith Kilpatrick, DBE, headteacher of City of Portsmouth Girls' School since 1995, was born on February 20, 1952. She died suddenly on September 5, 2002, aged 50.
A leading light of educational thinking and head of a model comprehensive.
Widely regarded as one of the leading lights of current education thinking, Judith Kilpatrick had been headteacher of the City of Portsmouth Girls' School since 1995. In July she was appointed to the executive council of the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) by the Secretary of State for Education, Estelle Morris, and was due to attend her first meeting of that body later this month.
The TTA was just one of a number of quangos on which Kilpatrick served. She was a member of the Home Office Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs, and also served on the Southern Strategic Partnership, Wessex Partnership and Portsmouth Lifelong Learning Partnership.
Her own school, City of Portsmouth Girls' (CPGS), was held in high esteem by the Government as an example of how a modern inner-city comprehensive school should be run.
Awarded the title "beacon school" -or one that shared its expertise with its less successful neighbours -CPGS had 1,000 pupils aged between 11 and 16. It was blessed with the best state-sector GCSE results in the area and, under Kilpatrick, acquired specialist status as a training school for student teachers. It also achieved several other government-promoted awards, including the Investors in People standard.
Kilpatrick was dedicated to learning and had a genuine sense of care and compassion for those with whom she worked, whether students or staff. She had a widely recognised ability to think beyond her own school and city. Her work with the National Association of Head Teachers brought her to national attention, and she became trusted and respected as a key strategic thinker.
Unafraid to venture into the discussion over the merits of mixed versus single-sex education, Kilpatrick -who earlier in her career had taught in a mixed-sex school -took a more pragmatic stance than many of those involved in the ongoing debate. "I've always believed that some students learn better in a single-sex environment and others in a mixed school, so it's right that there is a choice," was her answer to questions on the subject.
She poured scorn on suggestions that children miss out socially by attending a single-sex school: "Children don't spend all their time in school," she insisted. "They have plenty of time to mix outside school hours, and, while in school, we encourage them to get involved in activities in the wider community."
She was born Judith Ann Gladys Foxley in St Helens, Lancashire, she was educated at the Cowley Grammar School for Girls. After studying at the University of Kent she took a Postgraduate Certificate of Education at Southampton.
Thereafter she remained on the South Coast, teaching history, English and integrative studies at Regents Park Girls' School, Southampton.
After a spell as a liaison officer between schools and industry in the area from 1987 to 1989, she was appointed deputy head teacher of King Richard School, Portsmouth, and four years later headteacher of The Wavell School, Farnborough.
She joined the City of Portsmouth Girls' School in 1995. Her work, and the success of the school, soon came to the attention of the new Labour Government after the election of 1997. She quickly joined numerous national boards and organisations, as well as maintaining her local links as a governor of a junior school, college of further education and Portsmouth University.
Appointed DBE in July 2000, Judith Kilpatrick collapsed during a staff meeting on the first day of the new school year and never regained consciousness.
She married Andrew Kilpatrick in 1994, but the marriage was dissolved four years later. There were no children.
Copyright (C) The Times, 2002
Kilpatrick believed in a choice between single-sex and mixed schools. Photograph by SOLENT NEWS AND PHOTOS