Barbara Forrai (née Lockwood)

Barbara Forrai

Barbara studied Maths as an undergraduate at Somerville College, coming up to Oxford in 1946.


- What is your connection with Oxford Mathematics?

 I have always been immensely grateful, and proud, that I studied Maths at Oxford. I went up in 1946, a year in which 60% of the intake were Ex-Service (and rightly so!) but it did mean that we felt luckier than usual to be there at all.

- Describe your career?

As I had a grant from the then Min of Education, I taught in an excellent State Grammar School in Harrow for my first job, sending pupils to Somerville. Having been a WW2 schoolgirl, consumed with a frustrated “wanderlust”, I then decamped to Buenos Aires, where I matured considerably from the experience of living in a dictatorship.

On the way, I met my future husband, but he was working in Brazil so it took us a while to get together; I taught successively in an English Public School, and then the American and British Schools in Rio before settling in the UK.

- What do you do now?

I’m retired though I’m actually still working part-time with a commercial firm which provides a Freephone Help-Line to students, which can be quite amusing and funds my pretty-well satisfied “wanderlust”.

What success in your life are you most proud of?

 My last post was as HOD Maths at JAGS, James Allen’s Girls’ School (part of the Dulwich Foundation), where I doubled the number of VIth Formers taking Maths and set up in 1980 what I think was the best Computer Centre of its time in a girls’ school.

- What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

In my retirement I started learning Russian, which led to many adventures (and a BA at Westminster) including working for a month for a charity in Eastern Siberia.