Tributes paid to former college principal who played vital role in Portsmouth’s teacher training

REMEMBERED Jean Williams
REMEMBERED Jean Williams
Picture: Pierandrea Guarnieri

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A KEY figure in establishing Portsmouth as a centre of excellence for teacher training has died aged 88.

Jean Williams spent more than 40 years working in education in the city with roles at Portsmouth College of Education and Portsmouth Polytechnic.

Under her leadership as principal from 1957-76 the Milton Road college expanded from around 200 to nearly 1,000 students, and developed a reputation as one of the UK’s leading training centres.

Portsmouth historian and college archivist John Webb said: ‘She had tremendous energy and by the early 1970s the college had become established as one of the foremost teacher-training establishments in Great Britain,’

In 1976 the college and its iconic Foster Hall building became Portsmouth Polytechnic’s Faculty of Education. Mrs Williams was appointed Vice President of the poly – a post she held until she retired in the late 1980s.

One of her innovations and proudest achievements was devising and implementing the creation of the polytechnic nursery for children of students in 1979.

After retirement she continued to serve as a governor and chairman of governors with various schools in Portsmouth. These included St Luke’s, Futcher’s and Waterside. In recognition of her service to education she was made an associate of both Portsmouth Polytechnic and in turn the University of Portsmouth. She was also a stalwart of numerous charities across Hampshire with her husband Leo. These included Cowplain Good Neighbours, co-ordinating hospital and shopping trips for those in need, who were usually many years younger than herself.

She was also a great supporter of Hampshire Red Cross. She is survived by daughters Heather and Mary and four grandchildren.

Her funeral is at St Wilfrid’s Church, Padnell Road, Cowplain on Thursday at 12.30pm. All welcome.

· Jean Williams: Born February 17, 1923. Died October 25, 2011.