Marie Stubbs

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Marie Stubbs
Born 1939
Glasgow, Scotland
Nationality British
Occupation Headmistress, author
Known for Reforming a British secondary school following placement on 'special measures' by Ofsted and supporting better leadership in education.
Notable work Ahead of the Class (Book)
Style Lady Stubbs
Spouse(s) Sir William Stubbs
Children 3 Daughters
8 Grandchildren

Marie, Lady Stubbs, DSG (born 1939, Glasgow) is a British educator and academic, mostly known for being the headmistress who reformed St George's Roman Catholic Secondary School, in Maida Vale, London.

Early career[edit]

Lady Stubbs was the headteacher at Douay Martyrs School in Ickenham. She was also responsible for the running of secure unit for girls in South London.

Headmistress of St Georges[edit]

The school had been put on "special measures" by OFSTED, meaning that it was considered to be well below standard and subject to regular inspection. The students had serious behavioural problems and there was low morale among the staff, due in part to the murder of a previous headmaster Philip Lawrence who was stabbed to death when intervening in a fight at the school gates. This was when the seriousness of the schools situation was brought the media attention.

A new headteacher was appointed and later resigned; as a result Westminster City Council paid for the school to be taken over by a private firm. Lady Stubbs was asked to leave retirement and given a contract of seventeen months to reform the school or it would face closure. Seventeen months after her appointment as headmistress, the school was taken off special measures, once believed to be impossible by some and was no longer considered to be failing.

Second Retirement[edit]

Even though she wanted her deputy, Sean Devlin, who came to St George's from her last school to succeed, the governors chose to appoint a new head externally.

Following her experience at St George's, in her second retirement she wrote the book "Ahead of the Class" which outlines her time at the school as well as her opinions on the need for good leadership of headteachers in order for schools to succeed. She quoted about education: "You should sit down and decide what makes a good education for the children. Every child should be intrinsically valued." .[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Lady Stubbs divides her time between London and Banbury. She has three grown-up daughters and six grandchildren. She has been married to Sir William Stubbs, formerly Head of the QCA, for 40 years as of 2003.

Film Portrayal[edit]

In 2005, ITV made her book into a two-hour drama with Julie Walters playing Lady Stubbs. In "Good Housekeeping 2008" she said playing Lady Stubbs in Ahead of the Class was one of her favourite roles.


  • Member of the governing body of De Montfort University, which awarded her a Honorary doctorate
  • Catholic Woman of the Year (2002)
  • Nominated as Scotswoman of the Year (2005)[1]



  • 19631994 – Mrs Marie Stubbs
  • 1994presentMarie, Lady Stubbs


External links[edit]