Marie Stubbs was born and brought up in Glasgow. After working in Scotland and the USA, she moved to England where her career included running a secure unit for girls in South London and the Headship of The Douay Martyrs School in Ickenham which she took to Beacon Status.
For several years she was a member of the RSA Council and the National Council for Educational Technology (BECTA), and on the Board of the Teacher Training Agency.
In 1995 St George’s Roman Catholic Secondary School in Maida Vale became notorious when its Headmaster, Philip Lawrence, was murdered near the school. After the tragedy, standards plummeted as the school spiralled further into chaos and was placed on ‘Special Measures’ by Ofsted. In March 2000 it was facing permanent closure when Marie Stubbs was persuaded out of retirement to lead the task force given just three terms to turn the school around.
In her book AHEAD OF THE CLASS (£14.99 hardback, John Murray) Marie Stubbs’s absorbing day-to-day account of how the task force brought about dramatic change at St George’s. In little over a year, the combined effort of staff, students and parents transformed it, from a failing institution that had been written off, into a well-run, effective school that Ofsted praised as a national example of good practice.
In order to improve things, the task force had to revolutionise attitudes at the school. After shaking hands with every pupil personally, Marie Stubbs set out her expectations of courtesy, consideration and appearance. Children started to arrive on time and in school uniform. They walked rather than ran, and no longer chewed gum. Teachers and parents monitored the corridors showing zero tolerance of anyone infringing the new rules.
At the same time, Lady Stubbs worked quickly to create an environment in which the children felt valued. School buildings were rejuvenated, playground facilities improved, and breakfast and after-school clubs arranged. She introduced a grand Leavers' Ball for Year 11 students at a top London hotel, persuaded Harrow Public School to let St George’s use their rugby pitches and invited influential role models such as Kevin Keegan, Paula Pryke, Ralph Fiennes, Cherie Booth QC, and Lenny Henry to come and talk to her students.
Today Marie divides her time between London and Oxfordshire. She has three grown-up daughters and eight grandchildren. Marie is married to Sir William Stubbs, Chairman of the John Radcliffe Hospital .