When Fulham Cross Girls’ School headteacher Denise Fox began her teaching career, Harold Wilson was prime minister and ABBA were top of the charts with ‘Mamma Mia!’.
This was the start of an incredible 43-year journey teaching and inspiring thousands of local young children in H&F. She went on to become the headteacher of the very same school, then known as Fulham Cross Grammar School, which did not accept her when she was 11 years old.
“I finally got my revenge and came back to become the headteacher here,” joked Denise.
The life-long Fulham resident and devoted Fulham FC fan took her last assembly this week. The celebrations included a special video message from Fulham FC captain Tom Cairney and the team as well as a signed shirt for the Fulham season-ticket holder.
Her love for teaching started while she was studying for her O-Levels at Maris Convent which was located next to Fulham Library. It was at this time that she began to help her Homes Economics teacher, Mrs Fiona Carlin, in lessons and realised this was her dream job.
“Out of a failure, came success,” explained the 64-year-old. “I had to re-sit some of my O-Levels so was in school studying for these exams and began helping Mrs Carlin in some of her classes at the same time. From that moment I had no doubt what I wanted to do in life.”
She went on to train at Roehampton University before beginning her career at Hurlingham Girls’ School (now Hurlingham Academy) in 1976. She then moved to her current school, Fulham Cross Girls in 1985.
Amongst her many achievements, Denise was awarded the TES Lifetime Achievement Award in 2018 recognising her lifelong dedication to improving young people’s lives and empowering tomorrow’s women.
“The award is one of my proudest moments. It came as a complete surprise,” explained Denise.
“I’ve always loved the opportunity this job gives you to champion young people and give them the opportunity and skills to do well in life.”
H&F Cabinet Member for Children and Education, Cllr Larry Culhane, added: “We would like to thank Denise for dedicating so many years to improving the lives of local children in our borough. She has been one of the shining lights in our schools over these 43 years. We can’t thank her enough for all her efforts. We wish Denise well in the future and look forward to continuing to work with her on the teaching commission.”
Denise will continue to be the Chair of the H&F Teaching Commission which is made up of residents, volunteers, local teachers and education experts.
It is helping H&F Council in its mission to make H&F the best borough for teaching in London - from nursery right through to further education.
“It is an honour to be involved in this commission,” said Denise.
“The commission is looking at imaginative and innovative ways to attract, support and retain teachers who wish to work in this amazingly vibrant and diverse borough. We want to make sure every child in H&F has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”
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