JULIA Morris, recently retired Head of Kineton High School, passed away, following a brave battle with cancer, on New Year’s Day after spending Christmas surrounded by her precious family.
Julia, aged 62, was a much loved and inspirational Headteacher at Kineton for 12 years. Previously the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator at Shipston High School, she came to Kineton in 2002 from Ashlawn School in Rugby and very successfully led the school during a period of considerable change in education both nationally and locally.
With her background in Special Educational Needs, Julia was passionate about young people and an outstanding educator whose enthusiasm and drive for excellence was infectious. At Kineton she created a positive and exciting atmosphere in which to learn, where everyone worked hard to be the best they could be. She saw secondary education as the most important years of a young person’s life, where they learn and grow into confident young adults, well prepared with the skills and values they need for life’s journey. Julia championed the right of every child to receive an excellent education whatever their academic ability and both challenged and supported students and staff to achieve their very best. Through a culture of honesty, openness and trust the unofficial motto of the school became ‘Top Right’, the place on a quadrant chart where you will find maximum effort and best achievement. This was depicted in the many photographs of students on excursions across the world by Usain Bolt’s trademark extended arm.
Julia expanded the horizons of Kineton students both culturally and geographically by creating links and exchange visits with other schools in this country and abroad, especially Sanghamitta College, a Buddhist girls’ school in Galle, Sri Lanka. Julia always recognised the importance of working closely with the wider community and in particular the cluster primary schools. She also served as a governor of Stratford College.
Latterly, Julia was also able to use her considerable expertise to help other schools in Warwickshire raise educational standards through her position as Learning Improvement Officer for the county, a role she continued in after retirement as well as being an Ofsted inspector.
Even in the short time since hearing the sad news of Julia’s passing, many students and parents have posted messages on Twitter and sent emails to the school with comments including ‘Wonderful lady whose enthusiasm never failed to impress and inspire me’, ‘Outstanding teacher with a passion for education’, ‘As a parent it gives me a lot of faith and comfort to know that I had two happy children throughout their time at Kineton High School. It served them well and they are travelling on through life with good ethics, grounding and indeed enthusiasm!’ Julia’s influence on the lives of Kineton students will indeed serve them well.
Away from school, Julia was a devoted mum to Simon and Oliver and proud grandmother to four grandchildren. The school’s thoughts and prayers are with them and with her partner, Philip. She will be missed by so many for her wisdom, soundness of judgement, sense of humour and unfailing positivity.