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Christine Tadman

Wednesday, 9 December, 2015 -- Helen Wilson

Christine Tadman was born on 28th May 1937.  She attended Mexborough Grammar School in the Doncaster area and studied at Goldsmiths College, London, completing her BSc in 1959 and her PGCE in 1960.  Her first post was at Woodhouse Grammar School in Finchley, London, then she taught at what is now Newstead Wood School in Orpington for one year, followed by five years at Crown Woods School in Eltham.  In 1970 she joined Eltham College on a part-time basis and from September 1974 as a full-time Maths teacher. She took part in a teacher exchange in 1979-80 with the USA (Mr Martin came to us) and the whole family spent a year in Massachusetts.  In 1985 she left to become Deputy Head of Bexley Grammar School, but continued her association with the school as the staff-appointed Governor and indeed returned on three occasions between 1997 and 2000 to help out in the maths department.  Her husband John was involved in many aspects of school life and their children John (1983), Robert (1985) and Helen (1987) all attended Eltham College.

From the start, Christine Tadman stood out as an incredibly competent Maths teacher.  These days it would not be worth a mention that she was a successful woman in a boys’ school, but in the 1970s ALL the Heads of Department and other senior positions were held by men and all the other Maths teachers were men too.  When Mr Shuttleworth retired in 1982, Christine was the obvious choice and became a popular leader of a very strong department.  She also revived the fortunes of Carey House with her enormous commitment and enthusiasm and was a great supporter of all the societies, clubs and teams within the school. Christine and John, played a vital role in the College Society, where they hosted dinners for the speakers and selected pupil guests and frequently enjoyed offering the hospitality of their home to the guest speakers. Christine also looked after the girls when they first arrived at Eltham College.

Above all else Christine loved to help young people, whether it was through her teaching or intervention outside of the classroom. There was nothing she liked more than the challenge of teaching pupils who found maths, school or life itself, difficult to cope with.

In contrast to her reputation as The Iron lady, Christine believed that maths should be about fun, discovery, exploration and investigation into why?, not simply the wrote learning of how?
The maths teachers who were appointed during her time as Head of Department strongly reflect both of these viewpoints, and the pupils of Eltham benefited greatly from Christine's judgement in building such a strong maths department.

After retiring from Bexley, Christine’s expertise was very much in demand and retirement quickly became a succession of full time temporary teaching posts. Leaving the administration, management and politics of a state school for the joy of being back in a classroom gave Christine a new lease of life, and having been away from Eltham for a number of years she threw herself into the life of those schools with all of her usual energy and enthusiasm.

At Rugby, Repton and Worksop College, Christine coached Hockey (at which she was a very fine player in her youth), tennis and cross country, and sang in the choirs, worked in the houses and generally immersed herself in the life of a boarding school. So highly regarded was she, that at Worksop Christine was asked to be Head of Department for a year whilst she helped the school to find a suitable appointee. Her last teaching position was at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester in 2004 and combined her great love of music and maths.

Eventually Christine used her retirement to pursue her love of travel and sport by watching grand slam tennis and the England Cricket team throughout the world. With cross country skiing in the winter and swimming in Greece in the summer, her life was still an active one. Sadly, Christine's later years were scarred by a variety of health issues, but none of them could stop her from enjoying the peace that came with walking in the Derbyshire hills.

Christine died on 20th September 2015 at the age of 78.