UK honours first black female headteacher
London, Oct. 9, 2020 (AltAfrica)–Prince Charles has honour the trailblazing career of Britain’s first black female headteacher.
Yvonne Conolly is the recipient of the 2020 Honorary Fellow of Education award at The Naz Legacy Foundation annual reception.
The 81-year-old trained as a teacher in her native Jamaica and arrived in the UK in 1963. After working as a teacher in north London, including at George Eliot primary school in Swiss Cottage, she became headteacher of Ring Cross primary school in Holloway in 1969 at the age of 29.
In a pre-recorded video message, Prince Charles offered his “warmest congratulations” to Ms Conolly, whom he said was a “remarkable lady”.
He added: “Her place as a pioneer of the Windrush generation must be cherished by us all. I cannot begin to imagine the character and determination she must have shown to lead the way for black educators 50 years ago
Society owes a particular debt of gratitude to the Windrush generation and to all those dedicated people from different parts of the world who have made this country their home and who, in so doing, have made it a better place.”
Ms Conolly, who lives in Finsbury Park, spoke of the “overt racism” she faced. “I remember being walked in to the school on my first day by the governors as a precaution. I recently did a clear-out and found peculiar letters that were sent to me comparing me to a chimpanzee and telling me to go back to where I came from
.”She was an Ofsted inspector for seven years and from 1977 to 1986 was a government adviser on race relations. She also helped to set up a Caribbean Teaching Association to assist people of nonwhite heritage in the education sector