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Remembering Jo Dering

It is with deep sadness that we have to share the news of the death of Jo Dering. Jo joined the Larkmead family in 1991 and is one of a select group of true ‘Larkmead Legends’. As a fantastic maths teacher, Director of Learning and inspirational Head of Sixth Form, Jo’s contribution to Larkmead life is immense. 

Jo’s leadership was at the heart of what makes the Larkmead Sixth Form such a very special place. Her care, compassion and commitment ensured that every student felt empowered and encouraged to achieve their personal success. Her inclusive approach embodied the ethos of our school, with so many students moving on to achieve University places that they may never have imagined possible, literally changing lives in ways that impact on generations. The affection and appreciation of hundreds of students is clear in how they speak of Jo, how many return to Larkmead to share their success and show Miss Dering that they have done themselves and her proud. 
An external review of the Sixth Form in November 2023 confirmed what we all knew: “The leadership of the Sixth Form is Outstanding. The Head of Sixth Form provides outstanding leadership of pastoral care, the wider curriculum, support for destinations, 6th form mindset and aspiration for all. Strong student voice details how the dedication and commitment of (Miss Dering) impacts in all areas of their Sixth Form experience”.  
Jo’s contributions to the wider life of the school over her time at Larkmead are similarly impressive, making her mark in all aspects of school life. 
For her friends, for parents and for students past and present, quite simply Larkmead has always been a school with Jo in it, and a better place for having Jo in it. Jo’s legacy lives on in the hundreds of young people who have benefited from her excellent teaching, great expectations and tireless determination to help them succeed. Jo will be greatly missed, but her memory held with real admiration, affection and appreciation by all of the Larkmead family who were fortunate to know her. 
Thank you Jo. 
Jonathan Dennett (Headteacher)

Please see below for some messages of condolence from Larkmead Students, Staff and members of the community.

Dear friends, students and colleagues at Larkmead.  Thank you all for your kind words and memories about Jo. She joined the school in 1991 when she was in her early twenties, this was the same year she represented team GB in the world indoor athletics championships; she made me so proud then as she does now.  Her time at Larkmead has been a massively important part of her life. Remember her fondly, take care of each other and simply be the best version of you that you can be. That's pretty much what she would wish for all of us. Thank you again. Su (her sister).  

I remember Jo as an athlete in Weymouth, we were from the same running club. She used to train and race at athletics and cross country with me. We also used to compete for Dorset and England, then Jo went on to represent Great Britain, an amazing achievement. I didn’t know Jo as a teacher but as a friend and an athlete. She had so much dedication and worked hard, but I remember her kindness and sense of humour the most. After reading all the messages she has had an amazing impact on so many young lives. Remembering the running days Jo, I will never forget them. - Susan Nixey (formerly Critchlow) 

Miss Dering was my maths teacher 2002-2005 I got on very well with her because of my talent at x country, and athletics and she’d often give me great advice, it wasn’t until one of my coaches pointed her out that she was a GB athlete in her day. The next time I went to maths I told her of what i discovered and she smiled, I was awful at Maths, awful at school even, but in that classroom, I was well behaved due to the respect I had for Miss Dering. Rest in peace to an angel ive often thought about you <3 - Daniel Griffiths 

Miss Dering changed a lot of lives which one included mine, She was an amazing, funny Teacher who had a heart of gold, Thank you for everything you did for me. I will miss you loads but will make you proud RIP - Millie Castle x 

There are so many things that I could say about Jo Dering. Quite simply, I would not have got through school without her. She was so much more than a Teacher / Year Head: Jo was a counsellor, life coach, taxi driver, the person who gave me kicks up the bum and the person who continuously believed in me. That belief never wavered, even at my lowest points, Jo remained next to me. She was a safe person, she never judged. I will remain forever grateful for Jo’s care, advice, support and guidance, even when I was being infuriatingly stubborn. I achieved because of Jo and owe so much to her. Her wise words will stay with me forever. I left Larkmead 13 years ago and still often think “what would Jo say?” It’s such a cliched thing to say, but Jo changed so many lives for the better. A truly wonderful and inspiration person. - Laura B

I’m absolutely heartbroken to hear of the sad news of Miss Dering. She truly was a lady with a heart of gold that would go beyond anything to help you. Miss Dering helped me on one of the worst incidents of my life and I will always be thankful to her for that. She truly was such a special person to so many of us. Miss Dering is always going to be remembered for the wonderful lady she was. R.I.P Miss x - Sarah Chandler was Caryl 

Remembering Jo and her family growing up in Weymouth.  Her Mum was also an inspirational maths teacher. Rest in peace. - Jan Camp, was Dumble 

We were so saddened and shocked to hear of Jo Dering’s death. She was an incredible teacher and inspiration to so many - the essence of the sixth form at Larkmead. We are so grateful that our three daughters had the privilege of her excellent teaching, care, compassion and guidance during their time at Larkmead. She will be greatly missed and always remembered, her legacy will live on in so many. - The Onion family 

The most beautiful and heartwarming lady ever. Everyone loved her to pieces, She was always smiling and spreading love. She helped so many of us from seeing us sad, upset and stressing over our GCSEs to helping us in anyway she could. Always be in our hearts forever. - Jasmine x 

Jeez Jo, you were one scary lady I feared when I started at Larkmead over 8 years ago...alongside Mrs Screen! You were both matter of fact, straight to the point and didn't suffer fools gladly, just like Mr Williams! I wanted to gain your respect but realized quickly, that this could only be earned over time...and once I'd shown my commitment to Larkmead too, like you had. It was only 5-6 years later did I find myself accompanying you to the pub on occasions, with Sarah and Lionel. We found out quite a bit about during those times as you were Jo, and not Ms Dering Head of Larkmead Sixth Form. It was only then when I realized what you had achieved prior to teaching and all that you had accomplished whilst at LMS, the level of your commitment to all those who wanted to learn, and how you had your colleagues backs. Your knowledge about Larkmead will be truly missed. The kids will miss your drive, enthusiasm and compassion, care and just overall loveliness. I for one, know that my boy will miss out on having such a strong grounding on his 6th form I knew you'd keep an eye...but I am sure the team will pull together, to do you proud. Jo, you were one truly remarkable lady. That dry sense of humor, that beam on your face when you found something funny or when one of your students surpassed their own expectations, that annoyed look when others couldn't be arsed...all made who you were. A lady to be respected, a lady to have a craic with, a lady that got hotter than me (no mean feat). Rest easy my friend (if you know how), shine bright as you always have done, and kick some ass up there! Love you. - Bex 

What can one say about a person who dedicated herself to one school. Jo was a support to all around her. Every person in my family had dealings with Jo and we are all deeply saddened by her death. As a colleague she represented the best in us all. As a teacher and a mentor, she had a kind heart. There words were used by my daughter who went through a difficult time in the sixth form. These are words of great praise. Jo not only comforted both my daughters but also myself at that difficult time. Thank you Jo - from the Foster family 

As a parent of two Larkmead students I saw Miss Dering as a very honest, highly intelligent woman who was highly respected. Firstly, she was an incredible Maths teacher who had the knack of making very difficult Maths understandable to those who struggled. During GSCE problem solving my daughter would channel her saying What would Miss Dering do? She showed a real passion for her job, and she would go the extra mile for her Larkmead students. Lastly, she loved her Sixth form, striving to encourage them to achieve their full potential and they loved her back! She will be sorely missed, best wishes - Vicky Phipps 

Jo didn't just inspire pupils; she was a positive role model for teachers too. She was my mentor as a PGCE intern and NQT at Larkmead. I learned more about the practical aspects of teaching from working with Jo than from any formal course. She was the best. Goodbye Jo and thank you for your massive contribution to so many lives x - Marcia 

I first met Jo when she joined us at Larkmead School back in 1991. I was the Headteacher’s P.A.  Jo was such an inspirational teacher, it soon became clear that all the students had the greatest respect for her and adored her.  Jo gave freely of her time at all times to help any students that were in need.  I told Jo so many times that the students were so fortunate to have her in their lives. Jo worked tirelessly preparing lessons, marking, writing references as well as planning trips and events, and guiding all her students in the best possible way. So many students are now indebted to Jo for her teaching, care and compassion over the years and her legacy will live on through them. Along the way we personally shared fun, laughter and good times. We remained good friends after I retired in 2014 and met up regularly. We also shared good banter about football, Jo being an avid Arsenal supporter and my husband and I supporting Liverpool.  We will still give a shout out for Arsenal, Jo. Rest in peace my lovely friend. - Pauline Valentine Larkmead School 1984-2014 

I was really saddened by the news of Jo’s passing. Jo helped me greatly in my last years at Larkmead, having a unique ability to connect with “us” on our own level. Rest in Peace Miss Dering - James x 

Miss Dering where do I even start, You as a person has shaped me as a person I am today, I am grateful for what you have done for everyone at Larkmead past and present, I want to thank you, I will remember you forever, Hope heaven takes good care of you, Love - Alfie Marshall <3 

Today the Maths corridor is quieter than normal: The quietness is deafening. Staff and students are about but it’s quiet; silent even. There is a stillness, a pause in time. A deep inhale with pain. No physical injury but there is definitely pain. An empty space, a used mug, one less set of footsteps on the ground. A closing of eyes has sent shockwaves rolling over and over. Is this real? A swift swallow flies overhead like the sorrow whirling inside. Out of all this, love rises to the surface. Memories of your kindness, an extended arm helping others along their journey. A persistent determination to encourage others. A sharpness and directness to get things done. A logical thinker. Never a quitter! A beautiful gem that refracted the light in many directions to many people. - TH 

Jo/Miss Dering, you will be so missed by everyone at Larkmead, by your colleagues, the students and governors. You touched everyone's lives. As a governor, visiting your Maths classes was always a highlight. There was such a buzz in the lessons with students working well together. In talking to the students, they all enjoyed your lessons and praised your teaching and the additional support and time you gave to so many students. My daughter benefitted from this extra support and your dedication to your students. You knew she could reach her target grade, even though she was unsure, and with your help she did it (and almost reached a grade higher!). Thank you for everything you have done for my daughter and for Larkmead. We will miss you and never forget you and your shining brilliance! xx – Emma Sullivan 

Miss Dering was a true inspiration for my two girls throughout sixth form. She was a fantastic teacher who cared so much. Her memory will always be cherished, forever remembered and deeply missed – Kate Sanders 

Miss Dering, I’m absolutely heartbroken to hear this news. I left in 2000, and still all these years later, you are the one teacher who I’ve often still thought of. You were kind, caring, understanding, and I loved the lunchtime chats we’d have, you’d laugh with us, listen to the music with us, you’d let us put on in your class during break times. I only wish I’d have reached out and thanked you all these years later, I hope you know how well loved you are. Rest well Miss. xx - Lucy W 

Speaking from my own experiences, Jo Dering should be listed as an example under the word 'Educator' in every dictionary around the world. Her impact on students, regardless of whether you were taught by her, was immense. She commanded respect everywhere she went—the classroom, the courtyard, the cafeteria, the staff room, and, most importantly, wherever you went, because God forbid you let Miss Dering down in any capacity. Such was her influence that the respect she commanded was only done to improve the lives of anyone she came across. She lived in service to teach those who needed teaching and to support those who needed support. Her legacy lives on in the walls of Larkmead School and in the hearts and minds of all the people she came across. I am soon to embark on the next step in my teaching journey by starting my PGCE and iQTS in Vietnam, and I hope to keep Jo's memory alive in a way in which I'd hope she'd be proud. Thank you for everything, Jo. - Jacob Fleming (former student and teaching assistant) 

She was the most caring person I know she was always supportive of my son Ryan helped him when he needed it supported him never judge of the person he wanted to be they got on so well for that I’m truly grateful and she will be sadly missed by my son - Kay Hudspeth  

As a parent of a Larkmead student, I have always admired the dedication and strength of Miss Dering. She will be dearly missed, and her loss touched all of us profoundly. The influence of a good teacher cannot be erased, and her legacy will remain with all her students. Goodbye Miss Dering - Antonella 

Thank you for everything, Miss Dering was a great maths teacher, and I will miss her lots. She was such a genuine person with such a contagious smile may she fly high and rest in peace in heaven - Shristi

Miss Dering, you truly were an inspiration to everyone in the sixth form and I personally wish I could have thanked you more for pushing me to follow the path I have done. Larkmead won't be the same without you - Joe Duxbury (2021 Leaver) 

Thanks, Miss Dering, for everything you have done for everyone throughout the years I will miss you tremendously and I want to thank you for being there for me and everyone at Larkmead. Everyone in heaven has got the best Maths teacher ever Rest in peace <3 - Rachael Marshall 

Miss Dering was not only a fantastic teacher, but a truly great person. Her selfless acts and kindness will be remembered by many. She would help me after school for a period when I was struggling with Maths, this was just after her chemotherapy but she still helped and gave me support when I needed it. Looking back now, everyone who was taught by her was very lucky to have such a talented, strong and dedicated teacher but also someone you could confide in. You will be missed and I hope you know how special you are - may your legacy live on. - Cameron King 

Miss Dering thank you for being an awesome and perfect role model for my daughter who now loves maths. What a heart-breaking loss. What an immense legacy. We will be forever thankful that Bethan had the opportunity to know and be taught by you - Sam Towers 

I knew Miss Dearing in year 7 as she helped me settle in she was truly amazing - Alfie Williams

Jo supported my boys through their sixth form journey, having both moved to Larkmead Sixth form from other schools.  She was an amazing person; kind, funny, compassionate, empathetic and equitable.  She treated everyone as an equal and she was honest and fair.  She was respected and respectful and she understood the young people she worked with and was a role model and mentor to all.  She will be missed. Rest In Peace Miss Dering. - The Gouws family 

Miss Dering was an amazing teacher and will forever be missed. She helped me loads during my A levels, from helping with maths to the endless days of after-school maths classes with her endless support. She was the one reason I made it to university. Kind Regards - Sanjaana Tamang 

Thank you for believing I could make it - Barney   

Miss Dering was always there when you needed her, she was there for anyone who needed her and always prioritised her students above all. She was one of the most important factors in me getting into the uni I wanted doing the course I wanted .  She was a selfless soul and will always be remembered - Aswin Saji (2021 Leaver) 

I don't think I would be the person I am today if it were not for Jo Dering, she really cared about me and all of her students. I miss you Miss Dering and I wish you could see the happy adult I am today because of you – E 

Miss Dering was the absolute best; it’s difficult to put into words the incredible impact that she had on so many people. She showed me the beauty of Maths when I hadn’t seen it before. I feel so grateful to have experienced such a kind, humble and dedicated teacher, who connected with so many students. Thank you, Miss Dering. Your words and passion live on in so many people and your Maths games live on in the children I now teach! <3 - Alice Owen 

There are very few people that I can say with certainty have changed my life, and Miss Dering is one of them. Her selflessness and limitless passion for helping others was entwined in the heart of the school and every single student that ever crossed paths with her will say the same. Everyone felt comfortable around her and she made the 6th form such an inclusive environment. She spent countless hours helping me with Maths but it is not just maths she taught. She taught me about the importance of so many values, sculpted me into the person I am now and is a huge part of why I decided to go to the University of Nottingham. Even after 6th form we stayed in touch, and it wasn’t too long ago we last exchanged words. I was telling her about my progress, what my next steps are and how much I was loving university. Her opinion was invaluable to me and I always wanted to make sure she was proud of the work I was achieving, which I am sure is the same for many other students she has had in the past. Miss Dering you are an inspiration to so many and will be missed by generations. I now want to pass a message on to all that may read this. Some of the last words I received from Miss Dering – “I hope you are well and enjoying life”, which is exactly what she would want from everyone now – to keep going and to enjoy life as much as possible. Until next time – Joe Gomersall x 

Thank you so much Jo, for caring for our children. You will be missed. RIP Jo. - Catherine Castle  

Miss Dering was a kind and genuine person. Her smile was everything and she was my most favourite maths teacher I’ve had so far. I miss you so much….. Fly high to the heavens. Thank you for everything. <3 <3 - Neha Navin  

In memory of all the moments spent together, you will forever remain in our hearts. Farewell, dear Jo Dering, Death can never truly separate us. Your memory will live forever in our minds and in our hearts. Your departure leaves a huge void in the hearts of everyone gathered. Miss Dering was a very good teacher, I learned many things from her. I want to say goodbye to you peacefully, but for now I am filled with great sadness. May your soul rest in peace and may your heart find light again soon. This is the best I can wish you during this tragic time. I offer my condolences to all her family, her students, her colleagues, and Larkmead School. We will miss you so much <3 rest in peace - Zainab  

Fly high Jo, You were truly amazing and will sadly be missed by all <3 - Karen Froud  

Jo Dering was one of the best teachers I have ever had the pleasure to be a student under. She was incredibly well-respected and as such no student would ever misbehave in her lessons which, along with her fantastic teaching style, made GCSE mathematics not only easier to learn but thoroughly enjoyable for me, in a subject I struggled the most with. When she came back from treatment she oversaw my entire sixth form experience during the Pandemic, Miss Dering was a trusted leader whom all the students loved and respected as a teacher, Head and friend. She went above and beyond in her work; being a calm and confident authority in uncertain times, coming in to school in her holidays and weekends to individually tutor and give support to all sixth form students, and especially to those struggling with revision, and arranged/managed unforgettable school ski trips, one of which I was fortunate enough to go on in Year 8. The school ski trip to Italy was the best experience of my entire schooling life and the memories made there will last a lifetime, undoubtably down to her clear, concise and fun conduction of the trip.  Miss Dering had the perfect balance of strict, fairness and fun as a teacher, which made myself and other students completely respect her opinion and trust her entirely. Students would not want to personally let down or disappoint her such was the respect that she generated. I am of the mind that any new, young teachers of the present and future should aspire to be like Miss Dering in their career, I know I will in everyday life. I am incredibly saddened and shocked to learn about the news of her death. She will forever live on in my memory as a respected and caring role model, teacher and friend whom I trusted and admired, and still continue to look up to. A true Larkmead legend. My condolences to the school and fellow colleagues, students and friends - Cameron Bullock (ex-larkmead student) 

We love you Miss. I don't think I would be standing here today without you. Thank you for everything and more. - Cara Brown  

Thank you so much for everything you did. You are truly one of the greatest teachers ever. I wish I could tell you how grateful I am. - Wesley Ngan 

An inspirational teacher who provided incredible support for our son throughout his time at Larkmead. As a result he is now in his third year at the University of Manchester doing a PhD in applied mathematics. Thank you Jo Dering. - Jacqui Graham  

There is always a teacher who you never forget. The one who inspired and encouraged you when you were in your teens. Undecided as to where your life was going and what to choose for your future and your Career. Miss Dering was that special teacher for my granddaughter, and I want to thank her for the nurture, encouragement, care support and advice she gave to Isla. She was much loved by so many students both past and present, and was a role model for them all. She will be sorely missed. Thank you Miss Dering. - Liz Mason 

We will make you proud Miss <3 ️- Antony Free  

Thank you Miss for everything you done for us we all will miss you - Leo Crawford  

Miss Dering, you never gave us any idea that we couldn’t do whatever we wanted to do or be whomever we wanted to be. You are an inspiration to us all, unflagging in your efforts to guide us through our school life and continue as adults achieving things we never dreamed to be possible. It was a pleasure knowing you. You will be missed by generations of people. We love you <3 -Megan Brooks  

You were a massive part of my life I will never forget how much you believed in me and didn't give up I will forever be grateful xx Thank you xx - Francesca Raelia  

In the last few year's Miss Dering has been an incredible maths teacher. More recently at the 6th form open evening listening to her words of wisdom, advice, support and encouragement with young people, which can often be such a difficult time for them. We found it inspiring and the enthusiasm in our daughter Isla after that evening and since chatting about her A level choices to do law or not to do law.... I believe is all down to that one conversation with Miss Dering and her own family experiences that she openly shared with us on that night. I wish we had the opportunity to thank her because she has made such a lasting impression on our daughter. She holds a very special place in people's hearts. RIP - Anna, Matthew, Isla (Year 11) and Alexander (Year 9). 

You were such an amazing teacher and I will do you proud <3. - Leo Williams 

You were kind to my daughter. You encouraged her, supported her, looked out for her, and spurred her to achieve more than she would have achieved without you. You were everything a teacher should be and more - an excellent educator with a pastoral heart who spent her life going above and beyond for others. Yours was a life well-lived; and by example, you continue to teach us all. - Dan Graham 

Miss Dering, a woman truly like no other. A lady with the kindest soul ever, the only teacher that took the time to understand why I was the way I was, and advocated for me in so many ways. She was my guiding light in one of the darkest stages of my life. Even after leaving school in 2020, she saved me during lockdown and kept in touch even while I was at college. She was an absolute credit to Larkmead and I am truly devastated. Rest in perfect paradise, Miss Dering, love always. - Beth x 

Jo aka Miss Dering I am beyond gutted to hear of your passing. You made my entire year 11 experience unforgettable; you changed me from one person to another, and always pushed me past my knowledgeable limits. Your smile was so contagious, I will never forget you. Thank you for always supporting me and having patience for my behaviour. May you rest peacefully. - Jazmine Hutchinson x 

What an amazing person to have such an impact on so many lives. You gave so much to every student and I'm so lucky to be someone who received so much help from you. The world can be unjust. Thank you. – Laura Hayler 

I left mid-Sixth Form as my mental health was declining. You understood me, and you counselled me. A part of me wishes like I didn’t leave so suddenly, as I really felt at home in Larkmead. But I will always remember you, and I will always strive to do my hardest to make you proud. I’ve been sat here for a few days now, contemplating this awful and heart-wrenching news, and seeing the outpour of tributes that reminds me of how immensely loved you are. The memories of you remain vibrant.  The maths lessons, when a lot of us were FINALLY beginning to understand the content, thanks to your amazing approach which we all appreciated, and of course the family that we all became in Sixth Form… those will remain with me forever and will be spoken about by so many ex-students. I have so much respect for you. Though your loss has really weighed on my heart, I know that your legacy and the product of the goodness of your heart will live on in us all. We’ve all become better people thanks to you. You will be sorely and greatly missed. Look after us all up there Miss, until next time <3 - Julia Polonska  

Such a huge loss to the school and the world. Your kindness compassion truly shone through in all that you did for others. The world will be a better place for all you have touched. RIP <3 – Shane Degs  

Miss Dering you were truly one of a kind, always looking out for us no matter what I wish you could see all the love we have for you and how amazing you truly were love you forever <3 - Tiana Stonne  

I can't put into words how heartbroken I am to hear of your passing. I will always remember your kindness and concern for me and every one of your pupils. I will remember your humour and your smile, and your pride for every student you looked out for. Thank you for telling me I could get anywhere I wanted and for believing in all of us- even when we gave you reason not to. Thank you. Rest peacefully Miss - Ruby Walker 

To a woman who changed not only my life but the life of many other students, thank you. The impact you made is everlasting. - Abby Wright  

Thank you for everything you have done to this school - Julia Choma  

I couldn’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for me even tho I wasn’t the best behaved. I would’ve loved for you to have met my daughter Mia she would’ve loved you just as much as I did. Thank you for being the best head of year we all loved you!! I hope you enjoy it up there in heaven and they love you as much as we do down here. Rest easy Jo we are gonna miss you xx Love - Roxy McKenzie xx 

Miss Dering taught both my daughters in Larkmead school and the impact she made in their school life was unmistakable. She was not only an excellent  Maths teacher but also a great mentor to them. I feel we were blessed to have had her in our lives even though for a short time! She will be forever in my memories. May her soul rest in peace! <3 - Dimitria Petrova  

You helped me more than you could ever know. Thank you for all of your support through Maths and through the sixth form and for inspiring me further to pursue a teaching career. You will be missed and remembered by so many. Thank you. X – Emily Grindey 

An absoloute legend and hero to all what an honour it was to be apart of your senior team and a student of yours, you will be missed dearly rest easy our legend Dering <3 x - Josh Bushnell  

Miss Dering. You gave everything to your students and more, even when we didn’t know what we needed ourselves. You truly were one of the most remarkable people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and I’ll forever grateful of your support. Thinking of everyone who’s been impacted, I hope we continue to do you proud - Jess Hawkins  

Miss Dering was kind, inspiring and everyone's favourite teacher. She respected each individual and in turn she was respected back. She had a presence in the room that made students want to listen. Thank you for everything, Miss Dering. You were everything that a teacher should be and so much more. - Sophie  

When I think of a teacher who put their absolute heart & soul into every individual she taught and took under her wing in Sixth form, i think of you Miss Dering. I never knew a teacher with such a generous heart with a lot of love to give. You will be missed by very many. Thank you for all you did for us xx - Renee  

I don’t think I will try and limit your legacy with my words but I know you’ll be missed. The selfless way in which you have made futures for people, for generations, is inspirational. Me and my family will never forget the name Jo Dering. Thank you! - Oscar :)

Beautiful lady inside and out. It was a privilege to work with you. - Pat Bennett 

You always pushed me to be a better version of myself and had faith in me when nobody else did. You supported me through the hardest year of my life and I will forever be thankful <3 - Ella Leak  

Thank you for everything you did for me Miss, thank you for all the laughs we had, thank you for always standing up for me and pushing me to be the best I can be. I wouldn’t be where I am today without you and I’m forever grateful. I hope that you continue to shine light on us all and keep making those sunsets beautiful. We miss you Jo. Love you lots - Ryan <3 

I am deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Jo. Miss Dering was my favourite teacher and was the reason I continued to study and enjoy maths until A-level in 2009. She was a kind, knowledgeable, and hugely respected teacher. I remember she even bought us all doughnuts a few times when we were working on practice exam papers. It’s true that her legacy lives on in all the students she taught. Many of us continue to use those maths skills in our careers today. Goodbye and thank you, Miss Dering. We loved you.  Many thanks - Maddy Dyer 

Thank you Miss Dering for all the work you have put into our education I wish I could of said goodbye xx - Sapphire Hodson  

I was deeply, deeply saddened to learn of the death of Miss Dering. She was the backbone of my son's success at Larkmead and steered his 6th form so wonderfully following the disruptions of covid. Without her input he would not be at university today. She was "their" teacher and she made them feel like they were "her special children" and that bond of trust she conveyed was profoundly important to the pupils in her care and to their success. We have so much to thank her for. I hold the Larkmead community and her family and friends in my prayers. With sincere wishes - Selina Nisbet 

You were an amazing and supportive Maths teacher, Head of Sixth form and person. The teacher I will always remember most, thank you for igniting my love of Maths. You’ll be so missed x - Sarah Alcock  

I’m sad for the future students that will never experience your teaching, and passion for what you do. I hope you knew how grateful we all were. Sending my love to your family & friends.  Thanks for everything. - Rachel Kennedy (Alumni 2009) 

Jo, what an inspiration you are to us all, a reminder of everything an amazing teacher should be. If I can have half the impact on my students over my career that you have had, I would be immensely proud. The outpouring of love and gratitude from the Larkmead community, especially the students, shows how loved you are, and how much you will be missed. Our humanities department socials won't be the same without our much-loved bonus Maths teacher <3 - Bethany Bidois  

This will surprise those who've got to know me latterly, but at school, my greatest act of rebellion was bunking off a lesson to revise for my exams in the library. To my fastidious Head of Year, this was tantamount to truanting, but so as not to blot my perfect record my misdemeanour went unpunished ... until years later when she presented me with a framed, back-dated detention slip and a newly created ‘Worst Truant Award’ on the last days of school. Today I learned the devasting news of untimely death, far too young and with so much more to give. Not a day goes by I dont put some of some of her wisdom inside the classroom or outside of it. In Memoriam of Jo Dering – Harry McCarthy 

She was wonderful in the detentions I had with her from start to finish. Thank you – Riley Meaby 

Thank you for making us feel included in an unfamiliar country and for taking care of us the entire time. You are an amazing person and you'll be missed all over the world - Sage, Zoe, Camilla, Benedetta, Carlotta, and Martina <3

We will be forever grateful for the sheer amount of belief and support you had for us and we promise to make you proud! Thank you for everything Miss Dering - Mag Cin  

Miss Dering meant the world to so many of us. She made me understand maths and showed me my potential. I and so many others will forever remember and miss her. She was a valued teacher, friend and more. I will pass every exam (especially Maths) just for you. I miss you. - Emelia Eeles  

Miss Dering will forever hold a special place in my heart. She dedicated so much of her time and love to her students and was always there to help whenever you needed her. I will never forget the amazing impact she had on my life and those of my friends and the sixth form. Thank you, Miss Dering. - Emily Clack  

Dear Miss, I cannot put into words the hole you've left behind. I'm forever grateful I was taught by you, and I really hope you knew just how much we all loved and appreciated you. Love always <3 - Anonymous 

Thank you for everything you did for me. You were like a parent figure to all of us. I wish I could have said goodbye and have one last hug. Larkmead will never be the same without you. I will remember you forever. We all love and miss you xx - Mia Priestley  

I will miss you tremendously. You were the first teacher to fully believe in me and push me to my full potential. I love you Miss xx - Chloe Davies  

Thank you for everything you did for my family and me and I will never forget that. You were able to make everyone smile no matter what and you made maths an easier subject and fun for everyone not just me. Thank you for everything you did, I love you forever xx<3 - Bethany-Anne Bushnell  

I am so very sorry to hear of Jo’s passing. I know that she worked tirelessly for her students and that she will be greatly missed. Condolences and prayers to you all. - Mary Bibby 

RIP Miss Dering <3️ - Ollie Cole-Marshall  

I hope you know that we love you, thank you for all the times you held me and looked after me. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart thank you xx - Lauren Beadnell  

You meant the world to me and the school, you have driven me to do better in the world and in subjects. We will miss you a lot. - Liam Vaughan  

You are the definition of perfect, and I could never change my mind about this. I don't know how else to describe this feeling, other than you were a part of so much and no one can replace you. I know you will see this, as the moon is a half-moon, maybe only half of you is gone. The physical body, and that you're still with us. Looking over us and will still be guiding us! <3 My maths lessons will never be the same any more without you. Everyone says they will make you proud, but I think we already have and always will.  You were like a mother to me, Thank you. -  Kalai Sivarajalingam

You were amazing and felt like a parent figure. I will forever remember you and do everything to make you proud Jo. <3

You were loved by everyone; I’ve never met a teacher as genuine as you and that truly cared about each and every student. You have left a forever imprint on this school xx

Thanks for always looking out for me – I will never respect Arsenal but I do + always will respect you. Lots of love xx 

You have helped me so much. We love you more than you ever knew. <3 

Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. We love you endlessly <3 

We love you more than anything. Thank you for everything. We’ll always miss you and I wish I could have said goodbye. We love you x 

Thank you for always believing in me, We will miss you <3  

You saved me and my grades, you believed in me, Thank you. We will miss you <3 

Thank you for what you did for us exchange students, we are grateful to have met such an extraordinary person like you <3 

I would not have got this far without you. Thank you for everything. I love you Miss x <3 

I wish I had one more day to tell you how much you meant to me. You were so incredible. I love you Miss 

You were my first maths teacher, thank you so much for everything. <3 

Thank you for everything, you will be missed. x 

I wish we could tell you how much loved you <3 

Thank you for everything! You are the definition of perfect and I know no one would ever disagree! I love you Miss <3 

Thank you for everything. You helped me so much with Maths and I'll always be grateful for it. We will miss you so much <3 

<3 Thank you for everything, you will forever mean so much to me. Love you Miss <3 

You made me enjoy school again + helped me feel included. Thank you. I’m forever grateful. 

You meant so much to me in such a short amount of time. I'll show my working next time. <3 

You meant so much to everyone of us. We love you so much and appreciate you greatly. We will miss you so much xx 

I’m gonna buy you an arsenal shirt with your name on the back. We will always miss you, We all love you.  

Thank you for being the most helpful in our exchange experience. You will be missed by all of us <3