ONE of Yorkshire’s oldest schools is beginning a new era, with the appointment of its first ever female head.
And already Brigid Tullie is overseeing the introduction of a new assisted places scheme for sixth-formers.
Since it was founded in 1612, Batley Grammar School has been led by a headmaster. It only began to accept girls to its sixth-form in 1988, going fully co-educational in 1996.
Mrs Tullie joined the staff two years ago, as the first ever female deputy.
Now the former head of science at Ashville College, Harrogate, is head, with 26 years’ experience in teaching behind her and the distinction of being the first female head in the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) north east region.
Mrs Tullie said: “It’s a very great honour to lead such a prestigious school and I feel very proud to be the first woman in the post.
“I look forward to following in the footsteps of our previous head, Brian Battye, whose forward-thinking approach resulted in the school going co-ed and in the opening of our excellent junior school, Priestley House.
“I also intend to build upon the developments that I initiated during my deputy post, in blending the traditional values of the school with modern facilities to equip all pupils with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century – starting with the opening of our new state-of-the-art sixth-form block in November.”
The new head, who lives in Ilkley with her husband and two children, will be aided in her mission by two other newly appointed members of staff, deputy head Peter Smith and business manager Neil Lee.
For the last year, the senior leadership team has been working with governors to develop an assisted places scheme for all sixth-form students, financed via a bursary fund which from time to time receives donations from former pupils and others associated with the school.
The new scheme, launched with the start of the academic year, offers sixth formers means tested-assisted places based on household income and loyalty and sibling discounts on fees.
Mrs Tullie’s appointment coincides with publication of the 14th annual teacher recruitment survey, which finds that women are under-represented at headteacher level. In the past year only 32 per cent of headteachers appointed in secondary schools were women, compared to more than 40 per cent the year before.
New research shows that male primary school teachers have acted as role models to one in two men.
More than 800 men were surveyed by the Training and Development Agency for School and almost half detailed the impact they had on their lives.
Men currently account for just 13% of registered school teachers, according to figures from the General Teaching Council.