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Fondly Remembered > Fondly Remembered > Miss June Jaques

Miss June Jaques

Head of Classics, QMS, 1968-1995, Died 23 June 2023
8 Aug 2023
Fondly Remembered

Miss June Jaques

Head of Classics, QMS, 1968-1995, Died 23 June 2023

Miss June Jaques led the Classics Department from 1968 to 1995, having taught for eight years at Northampton High School. As an independently-minded pupil at school in Huddersfield, she had learnt Ancient Greek in the evenings in order to gain a place to study Classics at Bedford College, University of London. Miss Jaques’ time at QMS bridged the period when Latin was a core subject in British education and O Level Latin was essential for the study of most science or humanities subjects at university, and the era of new teaching methods.

(Latin was studied by all pupils in the second and third years at QMS with the option of converting to Classical Studies in the fourth year, ie lower five). The indomitable Miss Jaques was remembered with great fondness by her pupils to whom she variously referred as ‘poppets’ or ‘barbarians’ and ‘stuffed orange jumpers’ according to the behaviour of her class! Miss Helen Christian (later Rev Hornby), joined the department in 1969. 

She recounted how, as a student, she helped 'the annual conference of the Association for the Reform of Latin Teaching.’ There it was that ‘a piercing voice cut through the hubbub of our lunchtime chat, “Would anyone like to come to the North of England and teach in a school where you can see the sea from the classroom window?”’ Miss Jaques recalled that Miss Charlton ‘managed in some way or other to unstop a spring of creativity which I didn’t know I had in respect of structure of syllabuses and teaching. We were in fact at the cutting edge of the brave new world and I did a lot of work on moderating exam papers before they were sat and later played a part in devising syllabuses for the new GCSEs in the North and later in London.

By 1975, there was a great demand at QMS for Classics, Greek and Ancient History with Literature at both O and A Level, and a steady stream of Classics specialists gaining places at Oxbridge followed.   

Like most teachers at QMS, she contributed to a number of extra-curricular activities including, joint KES/QMS sixth-form debating groups and educational trips. In Miss Jaques’ view, visits to Greek plays could prove a ‘rather dreadful treat’.

Greek plays are wonderful, but way beyond the talents of children, students or amateurs, and the performances were usually awful and often involved sitting in the open air in inclement weather. The production of Greek plays in England was eventually cracked by Sir Peter Hall who took ten years of experiment and workshops before producing ‘The Oresteia’ to great acclaim.

It was Miss Charlton, together with Miss Jaques, who established the annual day trip for the entire upper fourth year to Hadrian’s Wall. As Miss Jaques explained:

These days heritage sites are awash with trails and suggestions. In the seventies you made your own worksheets and were expected to donate a copy to the curator. 

Each of the coaches visited a stretch of wall, a fort (Housesteads, Chesters and sometimes Vindolanda) and the Mithras temple at Carrawburgh, On the way back girls were re-distributed among the coaches so that as many as possible could be dropped near home.

In place of this annual trip, in February 1977, the upper fourth pupils travelled to London to view the Pompeii AD 79 exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. This blockbuster exhibition featuring mosaics, pottery and a model of the house of the poet, Menander, would also appeal to other year groups, thought Miss Jaques and Miss Charlton. So an entire train was hired to transport five hundred girls, teachers and parents to London and was subsequently dubbed the ‘invasion from the north’ (with not even a whiff of a risk assessment!)

Her QMS pupils responded to her authoritative teaching, feisty spirit and sense of humour with genuine affection. Following the closure of the Classics Department in 1995, Miss Jaques taught U3A groups, travelled extensively around Italy and continued to teach until 2020. Her interests included music appreciation, medieval monasticism, architecture and English historic houses. As well as being a reader in church, Miss Jaques was a guide at York Minster. 


Written by Liz Bickerstaffe


AKS Lytham
Clifton Drive South
Lytham St Annes


01253 784100


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