Isobel Stevenson – One of a Kind

With a reputation for being both formidable and kind-hearted, Isobel Stevenson devoted her life to teaching, and left a legacy which ensures that her belief in the power of girls’ education and opportunity will continue for many years to come.

Born on 19 May 1934 in Croydon, Isobel attended Croydon High School, where her love of teaching began: she knew from the age of just five that she wanted to make a life for herself in education.

Isobel had a lifelong connection with the GDST, and after finishing university, she took on her first teaching role in 1957 at Shrewsbury High School to teach maths and science, later moving back to Greater London to join the staff at Wimbledon High School. She taught physics at Wimbledon, but according to the school, her influence went far beyond her subject. She threw herself into a range of extra-curricular activities, including playing in the string section of the school orchestra, coaching the badminton team and supporting the Photographic Club.

In 1966 she parted ways with the GDST, taking up increasingly senior positions in Eastbourne and Derbyshire, before moving to Jersey in 1981. And this is where she settled. As the school’s Principal for some 13 years, Isobel put her mark on Jersey College for Girls (JCG), living by her strong belief that a girls-only education was the best start in life for her pupils. And she fought hard for them. She would go undauntingly into battle for funding to improve the school’s facilities, and to save the school itself when in 1986 she fought the island’s Education Committee to retain JCG’s sixth form, the biggest battle, she said, of her years at the School.

Isobel had a lifelong connection with the GDST

With her commitment to girls’ education and her love for the schools she knew – over seven decades from her early years at Croydon High School – Isobel’s final gesture was very much in character. Over and above her very generous gift to Jersey College for Girls, Isobel remembered her three GDST schools, with legacies to each of them. These have enabled Shrewsbury High School to provide financial assistance to the family of an existing Year 11 pupil (and herself the daughter of a Shrewsbury alumna) and for Wimbledon to boost their Bursaries and Assistance Fund, giving bursary students the same opportunities to go on school trips as other students and providing them with the technological devices they need to participate fully in school life.

And at her alma mater, Croydon High School has created the Isobel Stevenson Bursary. With this new award, in recognition of outstanding academic potential at Sixth Form, Croydon has made sure that Isobel Stevenson’s generous legacy has been fulfilled, with the first bursary already having been awarded – a fitting tribute to an inspirational teacher who dedicated her life to the advancement of young women.

Leaving a lasting gift

Remembering your school in your Will is one of the most significant ways you can support future generations of talented GDST girls and young women.

Legacy gifts often take the form of a specific sum of money or a percentage of a person’s estate. We are hugely indebted to those who have recognised the importance of providing for the long-term financial support of the GDST in this way.

If you have any questions about leaving a gift in your Will, contact the Philanthropy Team by calling 0207 393 6898 or emailing

Joining the Minerva Circle

If you have made provision to leave a charitable gift in your Will to the GDST or a GDST school, please be sure to let us know. You will then be included in our Minerva Circle, a special society of those that have made this significant gesture. Members receive a copy of our annual Giving publication and invitations to supporter events.

GDST Life Alumnae Magazine 2024/25

Isobel’s story is featured in our 2024/25 edition of GDST Life alumnae magazine, where you will find a whole host of features and articles including stories, tips and viewpoints from a range of alumnae contributors, GDST and school news, our latest alumnae book listings, and how you can keep in touch.

Read the full GDST Life Magazine