Cas Walker, educationalist & schools’ pioneer


Dorcas, or ‘Cas’ Walker, as she became known, was born in Kingston Jamaica in 1943. Her formative years were spent in Jamaica. She arrived in England in 1952 and settled in Manchester with other relatives before moving to Birmingham in 1958. She first career, was as a civil servant at the ‘Board of Trade’ now Department for Trade & Industry. Due to  a change of personal circumstances, Cas changed her professional direction. She joined Dunlop Research Limited in the late 1960s doing laboratory work on rubber polymers.  But the field of education was always an enduring area of interest for Cas. She gained experience working in supplementary schools and as a result decided to train to be a teacher in 1971 and eventually gained a B.Ed from Birmingham University. An avid student, Cas went on to gain further specialist qualifications in teaching reading and linguistics and a B.A (Govt).

Cas Walker
Cas Walker receiving her masters at Warwick University, with her father, Wilfred Walker

She taught in both Primary and Secondary schools in Handsworth, Nechells and Ladywood areas of Birmingham. Career progression led to the post of Senior Teacher, Head of Specialist Team, (African Caribbean Teaching Unit) advising on primary school management and ancestral diversity in education.

Cas progressed to Education Adviser for Birmingham Education Authority and was the first Africa Caribbean female to take up the post in 1987. Her wide-ranging role included development with key players in Education, e.g. Professor Aubery Osler at Leicester University.

Cas recalls the early years in school when pupils and teachers were surprised by her knowledge of English, history & geography. School plays were not without difficulties and racism, but the few years spent in Jamaica as a child, had given her a sense of self-worth and confidence and the ability to deal with the rigors of the inner city classroom!

There is so much more to tell you about Cas Walker’s contribution to education, how she came to write a book, her visits to the Gambia, her breath-taking community involvement, her opera singing. I will sign off now but will continue to share her story, her legacy. There are lots of things I want to document about Cas Walker’s life, not only because of her extraordinary achievements, her intellect and talent but also because she was my mother.

 

Suzy Rigg

Writing every word

 

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