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Friday Hero

Catherine Elliot is the secretary at Horsley CE primary school in Horsley, Derbyshire.

Catherine may be the secretary at Horsley - "afternoons only" - but for acting head Donna Guyler she's a "jack of all trades". She once helped make the school secure by finishing a wall with brieze blocks when builders left without boarding up a hole. And there were the times she helped seal a leak in the school toilet, fixed up a new doorbell, sealed the letter box...

Twenty-nine-year-old Donna, who nominated Catherine for our flowers, chocolate and champagne, unexpectedly became acting head of the three-class rural primary last September when the former head went on long-term sick leave. "I'd only ever been a classroom teacher; Catherine's been my lifesaver. She's kept me sane and has taught me much over the past year.

Nothing has been too much of a problem for her. We've had some laughs and she's helped me through the bad times.

"She said to me that until we got a new head, we'd be in it together. I'm so glad we have been."

Catherine always attends functions and meetings after school, and recently became clerk to the governors. The pupils love her too, says Donna, especially when she does dinner time duties to help out. A new head starts at the school next term, and Catherine will be there to help ease the way.

As for Donna, she's looking forward to getting back to the classroom. "I've learned an awful lot this year, but my heart lies in the classroom with the children.

"But thanks, Cath. I couldn't have done this job without you and the support of the staff. You really are my Friday hero."

Is there an unsung hero in your school? Tell Sarah Bayliss, TESFriday editor, about him or her at the address below. Flowers kindly supplied by Marks amp; Spencer

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