Tributes from the school community and beyond have been paid to a headteacher who was found dead in a college property along with her husband daughter.

Emma Pattison became Epsom College's first female head in September 2022 after six years as headteacher of Croydon High School in south London.

Mrs Pattison, 45, was found with her husband and daughter at their home in the grounds of independent school Epsom College in the early hours of Sunday.

Surrey Police have not disclosed the cause of their deaths but said they are confident that no-one else was involved.

Surrey Comet: Police outside Epsom College in SurreyPolice outside Epsom College in Surrey (Image: PA)

Local MP Chris Grayling called the deaths “an appalling tragedy”, adding: “I know everyone locally will be shocked about what has happened.”

Councillor Hannah Dalton, chairwoman of the Residents’ Association Group on Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic events that took place at Epsom College over the weekend, involving the headteacher Emma Pattison and her family.

“Our thoughts are with their loved ones, Epsom College staff and pupils, and the wider community as they come to terms with this devastating loss.”

Epsom College said on Twitter that staff and pupils would pay their respects to their “wonderful head” Mrs Pattison today (February 6).

The school said: “The shocking and tragic news has now reached many about the death of our head, Emma Pattison. The college community will be coming together today to process the news, grieve and pay our respects to a wonderful head.

“We will be in close contact with Surrey Police over the coming weeks and months. We hope everyone will respect the privacy of Emma’s family at this time and allow the college’s pupils, staff and wider community the time and space necessary to come to terms with this loss.”

Dr Alastair Wells, chairman of the board of governors at Epsom College, said: “On behalf of everyone at Epsom College, I want to convey our utter shock and disbelief at this tragic news.

“Our immediate thoughts and condolences are with Emma’s family, friends and loved ones, and to the many pupils and colleagues whose lives she enriched throughout her distinguished career.

“Emma was a wonderful teacher, but most of all she was a delightful person. In time we will commemorate Emma and her family, in the appropriate way, and in line with the wishes of her family.

“But for now, we ask that we are all given the time, space and respect we need to come to terms with this tragic loss.”

Epsom College won the top prize at the Independent Schools of the Year Awards 2022, with judges calling it a “beacon of excellence”.

The school was also named the winner of the student wellbeing award at the October ceremony thanks to its “whole-school approach to mental health and the wellbeing of both its staff and pupils”.

More than 850 boys and girls attend the school, which was founded in 1853, and its acting head has been listed as Paul Williams.

A statement from HMC (The Heads’ Conference), which represents hundreds of leading private schools across the UK, said: “Everyone at HMC is devastated to hear of the awful news from Epsom College that we have lost Emma Pattison and her family.

“Our thoughts and prayers at this time are for Emma’s family and close friends as well as the Epsom College, Croydon High School and St John’s Leatherhead communities.”