Jackie Hardie steps down from the Governing Body
Sunday, 5 February 2023

Headshot of Jackie HardieJackie Hardie has recently stepped down from the Latymer School’s Governing Body after almost 13 years. Of course, her long service to the school goes far beyond that, right back to the 1990s when she even spent a period as Interim Headteacher, the first woman to lead our school. We caught up with her to find out more.

Jackie trained as a biology teacher and it was in her role of Schools’ Science Advisor for the London Borough of Enfield that she first came to know and admire the Latymer School. When, in 1992, a vacancy came up for a Deputy Headteacher, Geoffrey Mills (then Headteacher) was quick to offer it to her - and she was equally quick to accept.

Jackie explains the upheaval of this period in national education policy. “The early 1990s were a time of change at the Latymer School, and in education generally, with new government initiatives including the National Curriculum, Ofsted and SATS, announced what seemed like almost weekly, in an attempt to drive up standards in schools.”

Another huge change which affected Latymer particularly was the Greenwich Judgement of 1990, a landmark legal ruling which affected schools’ admissions arrangements and opened up Latymer’s 180 places, previously largely ringfenced to children living within the Borough of Enfield, to those from across London and beyond. This, Jackie explains “put Latymer on the map for parents everywhere and sent our applicant numbers through the roof”.

In May 1998, Headteacher Geoffrey Mills underwent emergency surgery. Overnight, Jackie was thrown in the role of Acting Headteacher. Jackie recalls how “it didn’t feel too daunting to have to cover the last couple of months of the summer term - and everyone was sure that Geoffrey would be back at his desk for the new academic year in September”. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be. Soon afterwards, Mr Mills reluctantly retired for the sake of his health.

Jackie’s interim headship ultimately lasted four school terms, while replacement Headteacher Michael Cooper was appointed. Ever unflappable, Jackie found this period a professional challenge but remembers that she was well-supported by colleagues, especially Bursar Geoff Abell. “We just got on with what we needed to do” she comments.

Jackie Hardie with the Princess Anne in 2006
Jackie retired from teaching in July 2004 but stayed in touch with the school and for several years continued to accompany the Music Department on their summer music tours of which she has particularly warm memories.

In 2010 she joined the governing body as a Foundation Governor, also taking the role of Chair of Governors on an interim basis in 2016.

She explains that her proudest achievement as a school governor has been her work to diversify the governing body. She has been especially delighted to see the large number of Latymerians who have been appointed – “on merit of course, but ready to commit to the job and genuinely wanting to offer something back to their old school. It’s been wonderful to find myself working alongside some of my former pupils, people who have done so well in their careers and now have the professional skills we need to run an effective governing body”.

Although she stepped down as a school governor, she remains a Trustee of the Latymer Foundation, the school’s registered charity, until her term ends in 2024. 

With her extra spare time, she is looking forward to spending more time on her hobbies: regular travel, studying Art History as well as creative pursuits such as patchwork – things which she never had the time for when she was teaching full time. She also enjoys keeping in touch with many of her Latymer colleagues.