Home E In Memoriam: Dr Jackie Murray

A Principal. An Educator. A Pioneer

Jackie Murray was the warm heart and indefatigable spirit that has defined Fairley House over the last 25 years. The tributes stand testament to the champion she was for all boys and girls who had been written off as stupid, lazy or not ‘understood’. She took it as her driving mission to interrogate the learning challenges they had and find the right strategies to help them and their families.

In a storied career which you can read more about below she completed a doctorate at UCL, research, teacher training

In spite of the terrible loss we hope you are heartened to read the tributes to Jackie who will never be forgotten and whose legacy lives on in every child she ever taught and every SEN professional she ever inspired through her good grace, her keen sense of humour, and her brilliant mind. Thank you Jackie.


Tributes from Fairley House pupils

“Jackie Murray was someone who understood the minds of young people growing with specific learning difficulties, I had the privilege of having her as my principle at the time I was a student at Fairley House. She had a very calming approach of teaching and a few months ago I saw her and had a lovely catch up and told me “you’ve come such a long way since I met you at 7 years old” Dylan Luke

“I remember when she was the principal when I was there from 2002 – 2006. She was very kind and caring person” Max Newmark

“I owe my whole career and growth to who I am today to Dr Murray. When my parent first met Jackie with me their 8-year-old severalty dyslexia son after being told by state schools that he would never be able to read, write and would probably never be able to get a job. She promised them on that day I would learn to read and write and now looking back over the last 18 years since then I have not only gone on to pass my GCSE and A levels but also got my first job a couple of weeks after leaving educations and a further 4 different jobs all by myself and still growing and progressing. This is all thanks to this very special woman who laid the foundation not just for me but for thousands of pupils who walked through those school doors of Fairley House”  Tom Keech 

“She was a good teacher and a nice lady”  Oliver

“I honestly have no words for how saddening this is. See, I and many others grew up at this incredible school and wouldn’t have been able to get to this point if it weren’t for Jackie. Mrs Murray stood up for me and helped me, even during my darkest moments. I only wish I had a chance to say thank you again. I miss you, Jackie. Today, we have lost another light, and it hurts so much to say goodbye. We all miss you dearly and thank you for everything you did for us.”    Eva Boddington Rees

Tributes from Fairley House Families

“Jackie was Fairley House School. Jackie is the reason for where Brett and I are today. To know Jackie was to love Jackie. Not only was she the principal in our early years, but she was the one who gave our parents hope and so many others in not knowing where to turn. In my later years Jackie was the one who offered me my first job at FHS and told me to get on with my master’s to qualify as a Psychotherapist! Jackie gave myself and so many others the confidence and courage we needed. I hope I can honour Jackie’s memory and take a leaf out of her book and make the world a better place, like she did. I have no words, but only fond memories which I will treasure forever, as well as my family”    Gabby Levene and Family

 “I remember the first time we met her. Sitting in her office tears streaming down my cheeks as I talked about my son’s struggles. There was none of the empty sympathy or hollow commiserating, what there was was Jackie with a plan and a path forward. The joy and hope we felt after meeting the team at Fairley House in 2009 is still one of the best parent moments. Ms. Murray’s firm understanding and commitment to doing well by these young people was amazing”  Rebecca Will

“The world is a less lovely place without Jackie and as a parent I will be ever thankful for giving my son the best possible education I honestly believe Fairley House was the making of him due in no small part to Jackie Murray”    Vicky Williams

“I am so sorry to learn today of Jackie’s passing – she was kind, intelligent and non-judgemental – believing that all children particularly those with learning difficulties were awarded the same support and recognition as their peers”     Fiona Savory

“You were so kind and helpful to us when we were lucky enough to be welcomed into the FH family, and you changed our lives forever. We remember you with such fondness (your smiley face and handshakes in the morning on Lambeth Road); you will be greatly missed”   The McCann Family 

“Jackie was pivotal in my son, Andrew, getting an education by accepting him into Fairley House and supporting him at his time at Fairley House. We are hugely grateful to her. I admired her wonderful understanding of children and how she supported them”    Annette Wilson

“The legacy that she leaves in Fairley House is invaluable. It is a place that listens to children, gives them confidence to establish themselves and helps them see the value in their knowledge and skills. As a parent of a former pupil, the role this school had in supporting my son was deeply important. Thank you Jackie.”     Siobhan 

“Although we only met Dr Jackie once, she filled us with such warmth and she was so caring, attentive and full of passion.  She was a wonderful and supportive lady…”    Zoe Vinall

“We first met Jackie 10 years ago when we were desperate for help with our oldest who is now 20 years old. She was so understanding and supportive and practical. Our son spent 2 years at Fairley House and it was life changing for him. We will always be grateful for Jackie’s help and support. He is now studying Physics at Kings College London and that is very much due to Jackie and Fairley House.”    Terri Duhon

“Jackie, was deeply insightful, hugely intellectual with such warmth and kindness. Our lives will be forever changed and those of our children because of her ability to diagnose and support their education needs in Fairley House. And that gift she gave continues to live on in them, and in all the teachers she trained. You Jackie are a remarkable force for good.”  Lenore Cannon

Tributes from Fairley House staff and SEND professionals

“Jackie was simply inspirational. I learnt so much from her while undertaking the Level 5 SpLD course and working at Fairley House School. She had the most incredible impact on pupils, parents and the staff and I will greatly miss her”    Cat Kelleher

“Jackie changed my life. I was a very unconfident OT who just emigrated from Australia. I had no family or close friends in the UK and I didn’t know anything about SpLD. When I started at FHS, Jackie took me under her wing and nurtured my knowledge and skill, encouraging me to study further, problem solving with me, and generously sharing her vast experience. She taught me to be a critical thinker and also a leader. I enjoyed working with Jackie so much. Jackie was also a pillar of strength when my father passed away in Australia and I will forever be grateful for her counsel. I, like many people who were fortunate to work closely with Jackie, was in awe of her knowledge, work ethic and absolute passion for Fairley House School. There is so much to say about Jackie! I will miss her terribly and am so thankful she became my mentor and my friend”    Jenny Lim

“I spent 19 years of my teaching career at Fairley House from the late 80’s! Jackie was instrumental in my career progression…She was an inspiration in the world of SPLD! I will miss her devotion, integrity and collegiate friendship”    Nick Rees 

“Jackie was truly a fountain of knowledge. It was always a treat to hear her speak and I know that she has changed the lives of hundreds of children and families for the better. She will be forever missed at FHS”     Anon

“I have known Jackie since before she went to Fairley House School. A champion of children who needed extra support to navigate the education system and develop into adults with literacy skills. I have great respect for her professionally and she was always warm personally”       Jeanne Reilly

“It was my privilege to work with Jackie for 17 years and during that time I came to know her not just for her intellectual and professional abilities but as a genuinely kind and compassionate person who was totally dedicated to to the mission of Fairley House. We can however remember all the great happiness and comfort that she brought to so many people”     Allan de Gruchy

“Jackie leaves a huge legacy behind. She was inspirational and impacted the life of many. I will always look back fondly at my time at Fairley House. I loved working with the trans disciplinary team and learnt so much under her leadership. I will treasure the memories of the good times”  Maria Angelakis

“You brought joy and offered wise suggestions whenever we have an opportunity to chat. Your dedication to the school and the field was truly exceptional”  Annick Lam

” Jackie was fun, irreverent, highly articulate and very clever. She was also passionate about providing the best possible teaching for those pupils for whom the classroom presented difficulties. Her skills and knowledge as a teacher, leader and assessor were extensive. She was always abreast of the latest research and most effective methodology and her own research was published earlier this year. I first met Jackie in 1997 just as she was starting out as head of FHS and I was starting as the school Ed Psych. We hit if off right away and remained good friends and colleagues for the following 26 years. We graduated together from the UCL Ed Psy doctoral programme last year and I have happy memories of a celebratory drink in the glorious sunshine with members of our respective families. I shall miss you Jackie – your friendship has added greatly to my life.”    Veronica Bidwell

“Jackie was a tremendous influence and support in my professional life and I will miss her very much”.   Maura Murphy

“In 2010 Jackie hired me immediately following my interview for a role as speech and language therapist for Lambeth Road. I will forever credit her for believing in me, for championing her therapists and for allowing us to be skilled in literacy. She was the reason that I have gone from strength to strength in my career, but the few years I spent under her leadership at the junior school remains the highlight of my working life. Thank you, JM for your wisdom, guidance, unwavering support and the laughs! You will be sorely missed but forever in our hearts”      Priya Karia

“She had been a good friend (as well as colleague) for 25 years or more…She was so clever and such fun.   Our work lives have overlapped quite frequently over time and last year we graduated together from UCL.  Probably the eldest participants!”    Veronica Bidwell

“Jackie was my first employer, giving me an opportunity to work at Fairley House School during my gap year before university, and then again after I graduated, where I came back to the school to work while completing a graduate teacher programme. I am very grateful for these opportunities at the start of my career, and for Jackie’s support and guidance throughout this time. I really enjoyed working in the school environment and community that Jackie created. She was incredibly well respected, and a kind and thoughtful leader. Jackie was the first person in my professional life that I had to look up to, to learn from, and she set a very high bar for everyone that came after”     Aidan de Gruchy

“Jackie was my level 5 course leader in 2015 and she continued to provide support when I did my level 7. She was an inspirational woman, who has taught me so much and given me a career that I love. I am very sorry that I won’t be able to hear her talk about her doctoral research, but I will look forward to reading it nevertheless. She has left a hole in the dyslexia community” Jet Lewin

“Jackie was a huge ambassador for children with different needs. She was insightful, and skilful in her assessment and understanding of children; her commitment to FHS was without doubt. It was a privilege to serve as a Governor with Jackie and to have witnessed closely her dedication to the school and to the wider field in special education. A great and early loss; her impact though, will be everlasting”  Jenny Aviss

“Jackie’s work truly will ripple on through time, and like myself, so many families are forever grateful for her time and her passion. Jackie, you will be remembered, missed and loved by so many for years to come”   Jarrod Stevens

“Jackie was someone I always respected and learnt so much from. Intellectually astute and a powerhouse of knowledge – I remember so many fascinating conversations and debates from Case Conferences to a passing chat in the kitchen, staff room or corridors. I loved her no nonsense, tell-it-like-it is approach. You always knew where you stood with Jackie, and she kept you on your toes. She had a wonderfully dry sense of humour, and a twinkle in her eye. Over the years, Jackie became a friend, and I will miss chatting to her about life with all its ups and downs, her little random comments on my Facebook posts, and how she always made me feel better and had a way of looking at things, which I had never thought of before. I will miss not being able to ask her a question, which she would undoubtedly know the answer to, and the way that she would ask me questions too, that would make me dig deep and get me thinking. Jackie had a presence and was a force to be reckoned with, but she still had such warmth to her and always made the time for you, no matter how busy she was. Jackie conducted my job interview to work at Fairley House nearly 15 years ago and that moment changed my life. I am so glad I had the opportunity of knowing and working with her. It was a privilege, and her influence has forever shaped me as a therapist. I will miss her and think of her fondly. Gone too soon, but your legacy will live on in the lives of all those you have helped. You made your corner of the world a much better place.”    Jane Boulter

“Jackie devoted her life to changing the lives of children with Dyslexia, through working with them and their families directly but also educating others. I feel privileged to have worked with her and learnt a huge amount from her vast expertise and knowledge. I will forever admire her and strive to continue her passion and drive to make a difference. Thank you, Jackie, for everything you taught me. A true professional and wonderful person”Alex Jenkins



Educational Psychologist




Jackie’s Story


In 2012 we moved countries specifically to put our girls in Fairley House. It was the best decision I have made in my entire life and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Not only did the school help them academically it brought them out of their shells socially. 

They loved going to school there. One of my daughters is still in a group of Fairley House close friends who still keep in contact years after they all left the school


Jackie provided our family with wisdom and support when things were tough with our daughter. She inspired a change in career. Never before had a parent taken up the OCR training and I believe that this was due to the passion and understanding Jackie demonstrated for the needs of young people.

Zoe Solanki

Our School

London’s leading day school for children with specific learning differences

Get in Touch

30 Causton Street

Call:  020 7976 5456
Email: info@fairleyhouse.org.uk