Home News News list Pauline Blake Johnston: A tribute

Pauline Blake Johnston: A tribute to a wonderful colleague

Back to news list
17 June 2024

Pauline Blake-Johnston, Chair of NATECLA Scotland

The Trustees, staff and Management Council of NATECLA have been devasted to learn of the passing of NATECLA Scotland Chair, Pauline Blake-Johnston. 

We’ll be marking Pauline’s amazing contribution to the practitioner community and cause of ESOL – throughout Scotland and across these islands – at our Conference in a couple of weeks’ time. 

In the meantime we’d like to share this lovely tribute from NATECLA Scotland committee member Sheena Kay:


It is with the heaviest of hearts that the NATECLA Scotland committee shares the sad news of the passing of our dear colleague and friend, Pauline Blake-Johnston.

Pauline was co-founder and Chair of the revived NATECLA Scotland and fought hard for the integrity and visibility of ESOL within Scotland and more widely. During her time at Elmwood College, she was a pioneer of Family Learning.  

Her great passion was Literacies and she shared her enthusiasm and experience teaching ESOL Literacies at Dundee & Angus College. Her interest, background and love of ESOL made her a point of contact for so many decision makers across the country who wanted to take the pulse of ESOL provision in Scotland. She used her voice to ensure that Scotland was a just and equitable place for both ESOL learners and practitioners. 

Pauline was a force of nature for all of us. She was a person of seemingly boundless energy, who had a wealth of ideas and a facility for encouraging, cajoling and helping NATECLA members to contribute and give of their best in support of ESOL practitioners everywhere. She had an uncanny knack of getting huge tasks done that would have daunted others. She enlisted people to help with the gentlest of pressures and a healthy dose of her infectious energy.

She laughed when called a ‘volcano of energy’ but that, together with her enthusiasm and humour, endeared her to all those who knew her and worked with her.

However, as we remember with a smile the positive, can-do person who approached everything head on, our tears are for the huge loss of the friend who was so generous with her time, who was kind and went out of her way to encourage, nurture and support others, providing a listening ear and a sounding board for ideas. She encouraged those around her to be brave and many of us have her to thank for taking those important first or next steps which we otherwise would not have had the confidence to take.

Pauline Blake-Johnston will be sorely missed by so many people within the world of ESOL whose lives she touched. Through her work in ESOL and with NATECLA Scotland, she forged a legacy which we know will go on. We’re glad that we knew her and we’ll never forget her.

Sheena Kay
NATECLA Scotland



We’ll also miss Pauline enormously, as will the entire NATECLA family.

Naeema Hann & Paul Sceeny


Search Press Releases