Bouquet of the week;Kate Carr

Sarah Baylis, Friday Editor

How many of us would switch jobs in the 12-month run-up to retirement? Not many, is my guess, especially if it means kissing goodbye to a place you've known and loved for 14 years.

That's what Kate Carr did, deputy head and Year 2 class teacher. Aged 59, she left the familiarity of Westerhope First School to become acting head of Dinnington First School. That school's head was being seconded to a "class size" project and Kate was needed at less than a month's notice.

"It was a very brave thing to do," says Sue Dix, senior adviser for Newcastle city council, who nominated her for Bouquet of the Week. "And it was a very committed thing to do - which is typical Kate. She's a real trouper."

Sue Dix counts herself lucky to have worked previously as head of Westerhope with Kate as deputy. "She's a wonderful tonic - vastly experienced, never jaded and guaranteed to spot the absurdity in any situation. She's very intuitive and great for staff morale."

But Kate Carr will be remembered too for her 40 years of teaching young children in and around Newcastle. "The chemistry between her, the children and their parents is super," says Sue Dix. "She will be learning from children until the day she retires."

Kate says her career has been tremendously fulfilling but that she's only been doing what all teachers do. "I'm nothing special!" She is savouring the last term of teaching and looking forward to retirement. It's clear she has never sought a high profile but I'm glad she's ending her career as a fully-fledged head. Congratulations and thank you.

Kevin Weaver came to teaching with a degree in communications and a background in photojournalism. Last year he decided he preferred classrooms to war zones and started a PGCE course to teach English and media studies. Earlier this year, he saw a piece about Kosovo in Friday magazine which told of teachers trying to keep schools open. He was hooked again and this Easter flew to Kosovo, cadging lifts in military helicopters from camp to camp. He talked to teachers about their journeys from the hell of Kosovo to the chaos of refugee camps in Tirana. What keeps them going and will they ever teach again? Their stories are on page 4.

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Sarah Baylis, Friday Editor

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