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Bouquet of the week

Education, it's often said, is about making a difference. For the harried children in one urban American jungle, a new programme of social and emotional education seems to make the difference, reports Reva Klein on page 4. For the staff and children at Colne Engaine Primary in Essex, it's the sterling loyalty of their long-term supply teacher, Chris Murray.

"The school couldn't have gone on without her," says headteacher Sally Barber of the latest recipient of Bouquet of the Week. For the past 11 years, Chris Murray has been, says Mrs Barber, "adaptable, flexible and easy to get on with", but it is in the last year that she has shown her true mettle.

When illness struck a colleague in November, Chris stepped into the breach and took over the receptionYear 1 class. "It's always children first with Chris," says Mrs Barber. "She was anxious that they should have continuity and stability. We were lucky to have her."

If Colne Engaine school was lucky, Chris Murray was heroic. Her own children were in the throes of GCSEs and A-levels, she was nursing her father through a terminal illness and the school was facing its OFSTED inspection.

Undaunted, Mrs Murray threw herself into work - and although she admits she was "a bit tired" at the end of the OFSTED week, the children were wonderful. (The inspection, by the way, was a great success.) Chris Murray got her first bouquet at the end of that week from the staff and children at Colne Engaine - Friday is now giving her another in recognition of the kind of commitment which makes a difference.

This is the last Friday until September. From next week and throughout the summer, we'll be running our ever-popular Summer School. You'll find all eight pages in the centre of the main section. Read about Pounds 100 holidays in Britain and abroad; try out new life challenges in the "Give it a Go" series; join our masterclass and develop new skills; indulge yourself with picnics for all occasions.

Talkback and Thank God it's Friday continue in the main paper - with summer features on arts and books. We'll be back on September 4 with more news, views and practical help for teachers today. I welcome your nominations for Bouquet of the Week and wish you roses all the way.

Bouquet of the Week is given in association with Marks Spencer. Names, please, on a postcard - and why - to Sarah Bayliss, 'The TES', Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1 9XY

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