A Bo’ness woman is set to become an Honorary Fellow of Goldsmiths University in London in recognition of her contribution to early years education.
Sheena Gilby, who was born and brought up in Bo’ness, graduated from Edinburgh University/Moray House.
Her first teaching post was at Kirkhill Primary in Broxburn, where she worked with nine to 10 years olds.
She moved with husband Bill to London in 1985 and worked as a social worker for a couple of years.
But her love of teaching, especially for early years, saw her return to education in 1991 working in several schools before becoming the deputy at Pound Park in 2002 then head teacher in 2004.
She also helped to set up a daycare unit, under the Neighbourhood nursery scheme and, in 2006, three children’s centres.
Due to local government cutbacks, the children’s centre was closed but in 2012-13 Greenwich local authority decided to recommission the running of children’s centres.
Sheena and two other head teachers decided they wanted to run the successful centres so they set up a company and won the contract to run four in that area.
She remains on the board of the company as an executive director and, despite now living in Edinburgh, still travels down to London on a regular basis for meetings and monitoring.
Sheena is also involved with the Red Earth Education Charity and has been working with them to improve teaching for the youngest children in the Masindi district in Uganda.
She is currently in Uganda working with the children and returns next week in time for the Honorary Fellow presentation on February 18 in London.
Former Linlithgow MP Tam Dalyell once desctribed Sheena as a “pioneering London headmistress”.