Influential Burnley teacher and education leader dies

RESPECTED: Miss Kathleen Tattersall (S)
RESPECTED: Miss Kathleen Tattersall (S)
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ONE of the country’s most influential education figures and highly respected former Burnley schoolteacher has died.

Miss Kathleen Tattersall OBE died on January 23rd aged 70 at her home in Ormskirk. She was known in Burnley for her time teaching history at St Hilda’s RC Girls High School in the 1970s where she rose to become head of department.

But it was her various roles for different national examining bodies that gained Miss Tattersall great respect in education circles nationwide.

Born and brought up in Burnley, Miss Tattersall was educated at Paddock House in Oswaldtwistle where she also began her career.

Miss Tattersall left teaching in 1972 to join ALSEB – the Associated Lancashire Schools Examining Board.

She later moved to the North West Regional Examination Board and the Joint Matriculation Board, and in 1997 became Director General of Assessment Qualifications Alliance.

Towards the end of her career, Miss Tattersall was appointed chairman of OFQUAL (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation), a post from which she resigned in 2010 in protest at proposed changes to GCSEs made by Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove.

Partner to Dr Geraldine Boocock, Miss Tattersall was daughter of the late Nellie and Tom Tattersall who had left school at the age of 14 to work in the cotton mills.

She was awarded the OBE for services to education in 2003.

Dr Boocock said: “Kathleen was very much a people person. Despite heading some very large organisations she always knew everybody’s first name and was always there to help if anyone had any problems.

“She was also very generous and gave a lot to charity, particularly the Stroke Association which was very personal to her because her father had suffered from a stroke.

“Kathleen came from very humble origins and always stayed true to her Burnley roots. She was a Clarets season ticket holder and also had an interest in the Labour party. She will be sadly missed by very many people.”

One of Miss Tattersall’s pupils was former Lancashire County Coun. Maureen Martin who described her as an inspiration.

She said: “Kathleen was a superb teacher who instilled in me my love of politics. She was a very principled person as was seen when she resigned her post because she was opposed to changes the Government was proposing to introduce in examinations. She will be sorely missed.”

A Requiem Mass was held at St Anne’s RC Church in Ormskirk attended by mourners from around the world including Botswana, Holland and Switzerland. Miss Tattersall was then buried in the family plot at Burnley Cemetery.