Long-serving Hove head teacher dies

Posted On 10 Jul 2017 at 6:28 pm

A long-serving and widely respected head teacher of three Hove schools has died at the age of 96.

Kathleen Corderoy was headmistress of the Nevill County Secondary School from its opening in 1958 until shortly before it merged with two other schools to become Blatchington Mill in 1979.

They were the Hove County Grammar School for Boys and the Knoll County Secondary School for Boys.

Miss Corderoy took over at the Hove County Grammar School for Girls shortly before it also merged with two other schools to become the newly created Hove Park School which she ran from 1979 to 1984 when Peter Bratton succeeded her.

Hove Park was formed from the merger of the girls grammar school with the Knoll County Secondary School for Girls and the Davigdor County Secondary School for Girls.

Kathleen Corderoy

One former pupil Jenny Drewitt née Armstrong said: “She was an inspiration to so many people.

“She was a very wonderful and sincere lady and the things she said affected how people lived their lives.

“She was very loyal and she was loved by everybody.”

Miss Corderoy, who also served as a magistrate, spent her final years in the Victoria Chartwell Nursing Home, in Dyke Road Avenue, Hove.

Her family are holding a private funeral.

Former pupils, who held a reunion to mark the 50th anniversary of the Nevill School opening, and which Miss Corderoy attended, are likely to mark her memory at a 60th anniversary reunion next  year. Appropriately, it is likely to be held at the Nevill Pub, in Nevill Road, Hove.

Her nephew Jim Miller said: “She was born in 1920 – and thus remembered the town’s wealthier residents driving around in horses and carriages when she was a child and Brighton’s tram system as a teenager!

“She won a local authority scholarship to Varndean Girls’ School in 1931 and was a successful student there, with particular interests in English literature and poetry and also the visual arts.

“She was deputy head girl in her final year. She trained as a teacher in Brighton but for a year during the war taught in Croydon at a time when London was under bombardment from the V1s.

“After the war her career as a teacher was entirely in Brighton and Hove. She started at the old Whitehawk school but after several fairly rapid promotions became deputy head at Dorothy Stringer School.

“She was an active member of the National Union of Teachers: I believe she may have been chair of the local branch for a time.

“In 1958, while still only 37, she became the first head of a brand new secondary modern school in Hove – Nevill School, now part of Blatchington Mill.

“She was evidently immensely popular and successful there, her charm and enthusiasm allied to great efficiency and a love for her students (and her miraculous memory for their names) giving her the ability to get the very best out of staff of every grade and students alike.”

The Nevill

When the 50th anniversary of the school was celebrated with a dinner in 2008, Mr Miller said that Miss Corderoy was able to attend at the age of 87.

After almost 20 years in charge of the Nevill, Mr Miller said: “Her next challenge was a formidable one. In 1977 she was appointed as head of Hove Grammar School for Girls but as the local authority was moving to the comprehensive system (which she strongly supported) her brief was to oversee the school’s transition to a co-educational comprehensive one, now Hove Park, of course.

“This post, requiring much tact and diplomacy given the controversy surrounding the changes, also involved her in staying on for several years beyond the normal retirement age. She finally retired from teaching in 1984.

“Meanwhile, she had become a JP in 1970, serving on the Hove bench of magistrates, often in the family courts, I believe, until she reached the statutory retiring age in 1990.

“She was an entirely positive, kind and loving character, much adored by her family and friends (she never married but devoted much generous love to me and my children and grandchildren) and by many generations of pupils.”

  1. Bob Usrey Reply

    Sad to hear about Miss Corderoy R.I.P.

    • Cat Reply

      She wasn’t fit to run a cat-home, let alone a school!

      • Lisa farquharson/ beardsmore Reply

        That’s not very respectful is it cat ???

        • Roger Gillespie Reply

          Very sorry to hear about the passing of Miss Corderoy. I spent a lot of time outside her office waiting to be told off. She was very kind and the punishment was always appropriate for the crime. I was easily led you see, but my devastating good looks and charm won her over on many occasions.
          I’m pleased to have met her and can look back with a smile at my time at Neville.
          Sleep well, a good life lived well.

      • Jenny rogers Reply

        That is very mean and most people looked up to her, as she was a good head. There are a lot of students after all these years still and remember what a lovely lady she was.64 members recollect the good school years we had, at the Nevill 1958-1963. The first intake 2 Jenny Rogers/ Jennifer Stevens

      • Michael Tuckey Reply

        Thankyou Cat person, see my letter further down the page.

      • Valerie Ng Reply

        How inappropriate of you,Cat. No matter what you think of the results, the important thing is that she strove to make a difference.

        Rest in peace, Miss Corderoy.

    • Bob Fairbrother Reply

      Well said, Bob. I remember you – I think you supported Middlesbrough FC – if you are the right Bob and, with your unusual surname, I am certain it must be you!

  2. Sue Deacon Reply

    So sorry to hear this news – my sisters and I attended Neville Secondary from between 1964 and 1976. R.I.P Miss Corderoy from The Boniface sisters

    • Kim Neumann Reply

      Sad to hear the news ,I attended between 1968 and 1972 my sister Corinne and my brother Peter also attended Neville Secondary
      R.I.P Miss Corderoy
      Kim Neumann (nee Willett)

      Sue is that you do you remember me ?
      ,worked at Kaiser Bondor with your sister

  3. Lynn Huggins-Cooper Reply

    Really sad to hear this. Amazing woman!

  4. Roberta Harris Reply

    Sad News R.i.P Miss Corderoy !! 💜xx

  5. Claudine Reply

    She’s the Head that through me out lol. Mind I was a little charmer, the school system wasn’t for me. She tried to understand me but failed

  6. Zena Spears was Harrison Reply

    Sad to hear that Miss Corderoy has passed away. Always fair and just. Knew all her pupils by name. Remarkable woman.

  7. JJ Waller Reply

    An Amazing head mistress I remember her fondly even after all these years.

  8. Tatiana Egeler Reply

    She was made of stern stuff and I remember her as firm but fair with a calm stability that was inspiring.

  9. Stephen Eastman Reply

    When we met for the 50th reunion, Miss Corderoy could remember the names of students from the first years of the school opening. She managed to be a Head with a heart.

  10. Janette Mordaunt Reply

    RIP I had a lot of respect for miss Corderoy always had a kind word!
    From Janette nee Hawley

  11. Sue Evans Reply

    So sad. All the Evans family attended the Nevill. A large part of our history. RIP ASK Corderoy!

  12. Carole Greenfield (née Freeman) Reply

    RIP lovely lady, thank you for coming into our lives, I am sure most of us are the respectable people we are today because of your care and nurture at such a crucial time in our lives. Xx

  13. Rachelle Howard (nee Lovell) Reply

    I will always remember you Miss Corderoy RIP

  14. Jon Howard Reply

    A great lady I learnt a lot from her she always had a kind word so proud to have been one of her students

  15. Robert Fairbrother Reply

    I am sad to read of her passing. Rest In Peace Miss Corderoy – you were advanced in your thinking for the time with your progressive thinking and attempts at firm but fair mindedness. I am grateful for your approach and have benefited from it.
    I was at ‘Nevill’ from 1970 – 1973.

  16. Di Pollard nee Freeman Reply

    Was in uk just over a week ago (live in Australia now) was talking to different people re Miss Corderoy, sad to hear we had loss a person who was very fair person, she had a job to do, and she did a great job, even though I know people who had a problem with her. I myself didn’t Rest In Peace. Thoughts with the family

  17. Richard Mure Exelby Reply

    If I had known that she was still alive until only recently, I would certainly tried to visit her, and thank her for all the positive things she brought into our lives. She did an excellent job, as my former neighbor, who had been her pupil before she was headmistress, also could tell. I definitely take my hat off to her!

  18. Stuart Spagatner Reply

    She was one of the ‘old school’ Heads. I always remember that when she disciplined you, she would tell you where it was at and then say ‘don’t you agree’! I met her at the 2008 reunion, but it was sad to see her as a little old lady, as opposed to the stately looking woman with the Chignon hairstyle, striding into morning assembly.

  19. Bob Bicknell Reply

    Had my respect and set me on the right road from a start of being very weak academically to having a life of being a professional with core values as a foundation. Started off in 1971 in bottom class hardly able to read and she encouraged reading newspapers and tell her each time we met what was happening in the world. Ended Deputy Head Boy 5th a final year and was pleased also to thank her at the reunion.

  20. Barbara Lank Reply

    Amazing lady, she thought the world of her pupils and to remember my name at the Reunion, after 40 years is really something. RIP wonderful lady.

  21. Wendy Hepworth Reply

    Wonderful lady. I have much to thank her for. She was definitely ahead of her time in teaching. She appointed me as Head Girl in 1966/67 despite the fact i was no academic or a ” goody two shoes”. This has been very helpful to me over the years and helped me develop a sense of leadership and confidence for which I am eternally grateful for. R.I P Miss Corderoy. Hope to hear about the 60th reunion.

  22. Michael Tuckey Reply

    Despite all the praise being heaped upon Miss Corderoy,which i’m sure is sincere, I have nothing but contempt for her and her staff. If any you were in my year you will probably remember my best mate Mark Belcher was killed on a school day out in a road accident on the 1st of May 1975, I was the only witness to the horrific crash with a police motocyclist in Bramber High St.Although i was obviously traumatised by the accident I was allowed to go home on my own.Miss Corderoy did not even have the decency to meet me at the school on my return or even to inform my parents what had happened, I had to go home and tell my mother in the best way i could (apparently i just sat in the corner shaking and crying).When my Father got home he went absolutely spare apparently with Miss Corderoy. No apology was ever forthcoming,what’s more Mark and I were blamed for the accident. So the rest of my life has been a constant battle against PTSD and everthing that goes with it. I see she lived to be 96, that’s 80 years more than Mark did.

  23. Kim Hopkins Reply

    Rest in Peace miss Corderoy x

  24. Barry Humphreys Reply

    I want to know if the school is still standing or has it been like so many old buildings are now housing estates. I was at the school from 1957 -1962 and as I am 70 years old and live in Cleethorpes Lincolnshire I would like to make a trip down south to just see some of my youth.
    Barry Humphreys ( nee Glass)

  25. Alastair J C Duncan BEM Reply

    Alastair Duncan

    I remember katie as we bad lads called her when she was Deputy Head at Dorothy Stringer. A very kind and caring person, 60 years on I remeber her with kindness

    Dorothey Stringer 1955-1957

  26. jonathan rose Reply

    Sad to see anyone die, I was there from 1972-1974. I also didn’t have a good experience at the school, even got my mother in to ask why I was in CSE’s instead of GCE, when my maths had been top for 3 terms running, in 1973, they gave no reason, but didn’t give me chance to get the higher grade, which i passed easily 18 years later, I also got A levels later, but Neville School was for me a failure, as after 1973 interview with deputy head I didn’t bother with the lessons just mucked around for my final year because as I saw it they the staff couldn’t be bothered to hear me when I asked to be admitted to GCE then what was point of lessons in a lesser CSE that would be looked down on by employers.

  27. Martin Epstein Reply

    I was at Neville County Secondary School from 1964 to 1969 and remember Miss Corderoy with affection,firm but fair.I just wish I had buckled down and behaved better. RIP

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