Tributes paid to Stalybridge’s Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Jones MBE

A SCHOOL community has been left heartbroken and friends and relatives devastated by the death of Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Jones MBE.

The former teacher was responsible for helping turn Ashton’s St Damian’s RC Science College around after it was put into special measures.

And her work was recognised when she was honoured at the age of 83 last year.

News of the chair of governors’ passing was greeted with sadness by St Damian’s head, Sheldon Logue, who she helped appoint.

Elizabeth Jones MBE

He said: “Betty’s stewardship and leadership were instrumental in ensuring that our vision was realised, and that vision was that we are an outstanding Catholic school.

“The staff and I were very proud to have Betty as our chair of Governors, a role she has held since 2011 right up to her passing.

“However, we were also blessed to have such a remarkable woman leading the school. Her values and faith were strong and always made decisions based on what was right for the school community. “These decisions were not always easy but Betty, lived out her values in a calm, and stoic manner.

“The St Damian’s community has been privileged to be at her side when she was named ‘National Governor of the Year’ at a ceremony at the House of Lords in December 2021 and in 2022 when Mrs Jones was presented with her MBE at Windsor Castle by the Princess Royal.

“These, alongside the numerous accolades amassed over the years, are a testament to her leadership.

Elizabeth Jones MBE

“Her legacy, an outstanding catholic community, will always be remembered.

“On a personal level, Betty was a great friend, a brilliant colleague and a wonderful role model who I admired greatly. I will really miss her and her words of wisdom.”

Betty, who lived in Stalybridge, told The Correspondent of the work she put in to turn St Damian’s around, making its way up the Ofsted ranking system, until in 2017 it was graded outstanding in all categories.

However, after being honoured with an MBE in the late Queen’s Jubilee Birthday list, she insisted she only did what she had to do.

Elizabeth, who retired from teaching in 2006, said: “When St Damian’s went into special measures, I was determined to get it back to where it was.

“All the governors got involved with everything. We didn’t just nod our heads, we asked questions and challenged people.

“We knew what needed to happen, it was a case of getting the people who were in the school to do it.

“The Diocese of Salford put forward some people to be new governors and myself and another one joined that board with the aim of getting everything towards being outstanding.

“It was awful going into special measures. I was actually on holiday when we were inspected by Ofsted.

“It was a big shock to find out what was lacking – you had to go there to find out. If that hadn’t have happened, we’d have probably just coasted along.

“But in the long run, that rating was definitely a benefit. It made everyone sit up and think.”

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