Doors of Possibility examines the significant changes to girls’ secondary education between the 1880s and the 1940s, through the life of a woman who, born into the lower middle-classes, rose to become one of the leading educationalists of her time.
Dame Emmeline Tanner started teaching at the age of thirteen, with few resources or connections, and the book follows her career as she progressed from small private schools to more prestigious positions at Sherbourne School for Girls, Nuneaton High School and Bedford High School. By the time she became Headmistress of Roedean School in 1924, she was recognised as an influential leader of headmistresses and was a spokesperson for reform on many educational committees, including the Joint Committee of the Four Secondary Associations, which she chaired during the Second World War.
Building on a wealth of previously unpublished material, this book will appeal to both the general reader and the professional educationalist. It captures the gusto, enthusiasm and humanity that marked out Emmeline Tanner as an exceptional educationalist, campaigner and visionary. “In dealing with young minds,” she believed, “there must be open doors of possibility, even while we recognise that different minds find you in different materials.”