CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Tributes to Geoffrey Fallows, headteacher who embodied ‘heart and soul’ of Camden School for Girls

'His encouraging manner and gentle humour quickly earned the girls’ respect'

01 August, 2019 — By Helen Chapman

TRIBUTES have been paid to a long-serving headteacher who “embodied the heart and soul” of one of the borough’s best-known schools.

Geoffrey Fallows, who spent 25 years at Camden School for Girls (CSG) in Camden Town, became known as a teacher people wanted to stay in touch with long after they had finished their exams. He died last month aged 77, but is fondly remembered at the school in Sandal Road.

His daughter, Kate Fallows, said he was always bumping into women who he used to teach, whether it was at a theatre show, the opera or even, one time, on a mountainside in the Lake District.

“They might be acting in a play, selling ice creams or programmes, but mum always joked that wherever we went there seemed to be Camden girls,” she said. “My dad had an amazing knack of remaining connected to pupils, which I think is very rare.”

She added: “I love that people genuinely wanted to spend time with my dad. I treasure the fact that he was as special to others as he was to me.”

Mr Fallows had arrived at the school as a classics teacher in 1975, becoming its headteacher in 1989 and staying in that role until 2000. He was behind the decision to integrate boys into the sixth form.

Elizabeth Kitcatt, the current headteacher at CSG who Mr Fallows appointed as his deputy in 1994, said: “He led these changes with his customary optimism, insight and good humour, and he always prioritised long-term benefit over shorter term inconvenience and worry about the impact of change.”

She added: “Geoffrey will be remembered as a leader who embodied the heart and soul of Camden. For him, the school was about far more than academic achievement, important though this undoubtedly was to him. His values were those of the school; alongside intellectual curiosity he treasured friendship, generosity, community and laughter. He will be sorely missed.”

Geoffrey’s wife, Carolyn, was well-known at CSG and frequently visited the school. Mr Fallows left the school to spend time with her after she was diagnosed with cancer. She died later that year.

Mr Fallows regularly came back to the school and was often at the annual Camden School for Girls Founder’s Day celebrations with his second wife, Jo. This event sees the school celebrate its pioneering history, having been set up by the suffragist Frances Mary Buss in the late 19th century.

Bob Lister, who taught Classics at CSG alongside Mr Fallows, said: “When he was a deputy head, Geoffrey still taught a 50% timetable, much of it taken up with examination classes where his obvious love for his subject, encouraging manner and gentle humour quickly earned the girls’ respect and affection.They liked his wardrobe too, his ties in particular.”

He added: “What marked out Geoffrey as a special Head was the extent to which he cared not only for the staff and pupils, all of whom he knew individually, but also for the institution itself – its buildings, its grounds, its traditions. He lived and breathed Camden.”

Mr Fallows was known for his love of the outdoors, which was reflected in his treatment of the school grounds, and made a call out to parents, governors and friends to come to the school every month to do some gardening.

Daughter Kate added: “He spent lots of his personal time trying to improve the outdoor spaces at the school. He loved gardening – it was quiet and peaceful. He liked watching things grow.”

Geoffrey Fallows died peacefully at home on June 11.

He leaves behind his daughters Kate and Joanna and wife Jo. The funeral was held at St John the Baptist Church, Barnet, on July 3.

Donations can be made in Geoffrey’s memory to YoungDementia UK. 

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