Memorial service for inspiring Wakefield head teacher who died at the age of 100

Margaret Knott, former headteacher of Wakefield Girls High

Margaret Knott, former headteacher of Wakefield Girls High

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A MEMORIAL service is being held for a popular head teacher who died just weeks before her 101st birthday.

Wakefield Girls High have hailed Margaret Knott as one of the great headmistresses of her generation and an inspiration to former pupils.

The service is taking place on Friday at St John’s Church in the city at 2.15pm.

Miss Knott led the school from 1949 to 1973 when she retired. The school’s development director Andrew Beales said: “She was an inspirational woman who displayed vision and courage, integrity and understanding. Miss Knott prided herself on knowing the names of all her pupils and parents, something which humanised her in an age when headmistresses were often fearsome characters.”

She graduated from Newham College, Cambridge with a degree in natural sciences, and taught in various schools before taking over at Wakefield Girls.

She passed away in November last year at a nursing home in Surrey at the age of 100.

In an article written to celebrate her 100th birthday in December 2013, she recalled that her fondest memories of the school were talking to parents and pupils and “watching people learn how to do things well.”

Alongside her work at the school for fourteen years she was a Justice of the Peace for Wakefield.

She was also president of the Yorkshire branch of the Association of Headmistresses and chairman of the committee of the Association of Independent and Direct Grant Schools.

Since her death, many old girls have paid tribute to Miss Knott. Jennifer Bagley said: “Whenever I think of Miss Knott I see her standing outside her office in the main corridor watching her girls on the way to their next lessons. She would stand very straight with her hands clasped together, peering over her spectacles, always looking immaculate in her tweed suits. At the end of lessons during room changes, there always seemed to be so many of us going here, there and everywhere, but I’m sure she saw each and every one of us.”

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