Teacher Joan was dedicated to pupils

Tributes have been paid following the death of a teacher who dedicated her life to her pupils.

Friday, 4th August 2017, 1:52 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:06 pm
Dr Joan Wilkinson (right), who was the first head of Blackpool Sixth Form College, with Mary Roberts, a former head teacher at Collegiate High School

Dr Joan Wilkinson was both head girl and later deputy head teacher at the former Collegiate School for Girls in Blackpool.

She was also the first head of the Blackpool Sixth Form College in Highfurlong.

Dr Wilkinson, who never married, died on July 26, aged 93, in the New Thursby Nursing Home in St Annes.

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Marcia Roper, secretary of the Blackpool Collegiate Old Girls Association, said: “She was very well respected by her past pupils and she was very clever.

“She always remembered her pupils and was very interested in what they were doing.

“She always had their welfare at heart.”

Former pupils on the Blackpool Grammar School and Collegiate old friends Facebook site described Dr Wilkinson as a ‘kind’ and ‘fair’ teacher who “influenced so many.”

Dr Wilkinson was head girl at the old Collegiate School for Girls in Beech Avenue in 1940 and 1941.

She went on to study at Manchester University and also got a Phd at London University.

She then returned as a teacher to the school where she had been a pupil, and rose to the position of deputy head, working alongside head teacher Mary Roberts who died in 2006.

The pair were remembered as always wearing black gowns when they taught.

But after 10 years there, when the school closed in 1971 following its merger with Blackpool Grammar School, Dr Wilkinson transferred to the new Collegiate school site at Highfurlong.

Dr Wilkinson was head of the sixth form at the school, and was later appointed as the first head of Blackpool Sixth Form College when it opened on the site nearby which it still occupies.

In 2002 the college named a resource centre after her in honour of her achievements.

Following her retirement in 1983, she continued to be active as a speaker at meetings of various local groups.

Dr Wilkinson, who lived in Great Eccleston before moving to her nursing home, wrote a book detailing the history of the Collegiate School for Girls covering the years between 1925 and 1971.

The school, which had stood on the corner of Beech Avenue and Forest Gate, was demolished in 1987.

Collegiate School, on Blackpool Old Road, has also since been demolished.

It made way for the new Aspire Academy which opened on the site in 2014 following the merger of Collegiate and Bispham High School.

Dr Wilkinson’s funeral will be held on Monday at 2pm at St Anne Copp Church, Copp Lane, Great Eccleston.