Friday Hero

Classroom assistant Caroline Gingles is definitely not a "jobsworth", says her principal. "She is always willing to give that little bit extra, and she does it with such humility and willingness," says Janet Williamson, principal of Antrim grammar school in Northern Ireland.

Miss Williamson is new to the 740-pupil mixed grammar - she joined in September last year - but says she had to nominate Caroline Gingles for our flowers, champagne and chocolates "because I'm so impressed by her work".

Caroline arrived at Antrim grammar three years ago to work one-to-one with Rebecca Dane, a pupil who had undergone a tracheotomy (although she'd worked as an invigilator at the school before then).

Rebecca, pictured left with Miss Williamson, is now a fifth-former and about to leave, so she no longer needs constant help - although she remains Caroline's "number one priority" - so Caroline developed a new role for herself supporting all staff and pupils. And for no extra pay. "She has a genuine willingness to give," says Miss Williamson. "She could leave as soon as school finishes, but she's often here until much later."

Caroline's new role includes regular typing for the teachers, and conducting research onthe internet. She also acts as the school nurse, administering first aid to pupils and staff. Plus, she stands in for the office staff at break and lunchtimes, and is always willing to do the "little extras" around the staffroom to keep it clean and tidy. A gem welcome in any school.

Caroline's two children also have links with Antrim grammar: her son has just finished his A2-levels, and her daughter is a recent leaver now studying law at university.

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