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Remembering Mrs Margaret Smithers 

HEAD TEACHER 1977 - 1986

When Mrs Smithers was appointed Head Teacher in 1977, she was ideally suited to the job in several ways.

Varndean was in the process of converting from a girls’ Grammar School to a mixed Comprehensive High School. A variety of new skills were required to educate a broader range of students. Mrs Smithers possessed these, having already been a Deputy Head at Dorothy Stringer (then a secondary modern school) and Head of Knoll Girls’ School in Hove.

However, she also understood Varndean’s traditions. As Margaret Stonor, she had been a student here herself, serving as School Captain in 1942-3. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she remained in Brighton and described war-time schooling, including having to race to the air raid shelters at the back of the school when the sirens sounded for a day-light raid.

She successfully guided the fortunes of the new mixed comprehensive for 9 years until her retirement, when she passed the baton on to Pam Bowmaker.