Philosopher Mary Warnock dies aged 94

It was sad to hear that Baroness Mary Warnock has died, aged 94.

She was a powerful force in education and was the headmistress at Oxford High School for Girls from 1966 to 1972, a highly regarded independent day school for girls.

The school was founded by the Girls’ Day School Trust in 1875, making it the city’s oldest girls’ school.

Previous to that she had studied at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and from 1949 to 1966 was a fellow and tutor in philosophy at St Hugh’s College.

She was asked to carry out a review on children with special educational needs and disabilities, and subsequently was given the responsibility of chairing an inquiry into human fertilisation and embryology.

The report of the Committee of Enquiry into the Education of Handicapped Children and Young People led to radical change by placing priority on teaching children with special educational needs and disabilities in mainstream schools.

Then, during the mid 1980’s, she was asked to lead the government’s inquiry into human fertilisation and embryology which published its report in 1984.

This led to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) being established, the first in the world.

Her husband Sir Geoffrey, was a former vice chancellor of Oxford University and had died aged 73 in 1995. The pair married in 1949.

Very much one who wanted to keep her own independence, she continued to live at her home until a recent fall, from which she died.

Lady Warnock was born in April 1924 and was the youngest of seven children.

An important person within two fields that touched the lives of many people, she will be fondly remembered and sadly missed.

Photo: Christine Boyd/The Telegraph

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