Britain’s first Black headteacher Yvonne Conolly dies age 81

Yvonne Connolly was Britain's first black female headteacher at a school in Islington

Yvonne Conolly was Britain's first Black female headteacher - Credit: Myeloma UK

Tributes have been paid to the UK's first Black female headteacher, Yvonne Conolly, who has died aged 81.

Yvonne arrived in Britain from Jamaica in 1963 as part of the Windrush generation and began work as a supply teacher.

Just six years later, she was appointed headteacher at Ring Cross Primary School, in Eden Grove, Holloway, aged 29.

She received so many racist threats when she took over that she needed a bodyguard to go to school with her on her first day.

The pioneer tried to show pupils everyone is the "same but different", and went on to be an Ofsted inspector and a member of the home secretary’s advisory council on race relations.


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Yvonne died of myeloma, an incurable blood cancer she had been fighting for more than 10 years.

In a statement, Islington North Labour Party said she was "an inspiration to so many" and the Department for Education praised her for "leaving lasting legacy”.

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Former Times Education Supplement editor Ann Mroz added: "Yvonne Conolly was a remarkable trailblazing educator and a wonderfully supportive woman.

"The world is a lesser place without her."

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