TRIBUTES have been paid to a woman who was at the helm of a York girls school for nine years.

June Ellis was head at The Mount School from 1977 to 1986 and passed away on Friday (October 18) aged 93.

Current principal, Adrienne Richmond, said: “June was one of our most loved and most respected heads and old scholars share great memories of the most kind, caring and generous hearted person. June was head at The Mount for nine years and in that time she always put the individual at the heart of all she did. She steered the school successfully in her time, keeping The Mount at the fore of progressive education for girls. We have much to thank June Ellis for.”

June, who was herself a Quaker, had been deputy head at the Friends’ School Sibford, a co-educational Quaker school near Banbury. She joined The Mount with to succeed Joyce Pickard, who had led the school since 1960 and who passed away in September 2017.

June entered into The Mount’s school traditions with gusto. Halloween plays, Bonfire Night, Games In The Dark, Christmas Carols, the pantomime and all of the rituals of the school year, through to Old Scholars Weekend, the Strawberry Ball and Leavers’ Supper, were all enjoyed.

Probably the biggest change The Mount was to face was entirely beyond June Ellis’ control, when Bootham School began to admit girls. In the early 1980s many boys’ schools were becoming mixed but June Ellis felt it was extremely important for The Mount to remain single-sex.

When she retired in 1986, Nigel Naish chair of committee said: “In a decade where feminism has come to the fore she has believed it important to ensure that The Mount continues to prosper as a single sex boarding school to help women and girls fulfil their full potential in society. During a challenging decade when many independent schools (and especially girls’ boarding schools in the North) have been struggling to keep up standards, the success of The Mount and the maintenance of the school reflect her wise leadership and influence.

“By her example, her ability to listen, her realisation of her own fallibility and her sense of humour, she has succeeded in leading The Mount towards becoming a happier and more relaxed community. The Arts have blossomed and flourished in her time here, and her enthusiasm and enjoyment in all things domestic reflects itself in the warm welcome girls of all ages give to visitors to the school.”

Former pupils have been paying tribute to June on The Mount’s Old Scholars’ online forum.

Claudia said: “She was an inspirational head teacher and always encouraged you to be the best version of yourself.”

Beverley said: “I was in 5th Year when June started at MSY. We started term on a Wednesday. On the following Sunday after Meeting a few of us were identified as inappropriately giggling. I was summoned to her office and well and truly told off. She told me she would always remember me because I was the first pupil she had cause to admonish and discipline in her career at The Mount. I was absolutely delighted with that accolade I have to say! RIP June Ellis. You will always be remembered with great affection.”

Susie said: “My head, and how wonderful she was. Will be sadly missed.”

Sara said: “Sad news. She was head during my final three years. Despite my constantly being in trouble for a wide variety of misdemeanours, I think she always believed in me.”