Bouquet of the week

30th October 1998 at 00:00
Ten years ago when Peter Hart's litle daughter Emma had heart surgery at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, he decided he wanted to spend more time with her as she grew up. So he applied for a job which finished every day at 3pm. His plan worked ("I see more of Emma than ever before") although the day's never finished at 3 o'clock.

Peter is site controller at Wexham Comprehensive in Slough and Emma is now a pupil in Year 11. The family lives on the premises and Peter is totally involved in the life of the school. "In 30 years teaching I've never known a man like him on the caretaking side," says headteacher Jeff Richardson. "Your flowers are totally deserved."

This is a caretaker who enjoys the company of children, is always part of the staff team and has a passion for sport. Every lunchtime he's on duty outside, providing pupils with footballs, netballs and impromptu coaching advice. After school he drives the minibus to sporting fixtures and arranges coach trips to Wembley whenever Glen Hoddle's team is playing at home.

Recently he accompanied 53 children and three teachers to the England-Bulgaria match. "It was terrible (England drew 0-0) but we had a great time!" he says. On summer evenings Peter umpires cricket matches on the school field or prepares the hall for community events. "It's all in a working day and I just love my job," he says.

Peter was nominated by Slough's Labour MP Fiona Mactaggart who, as an ex-teacher, knows what a difference a person like Peter can make. "Sometimes when yougo into a school you can just feel that a caretaker is part of what makes it a good school. Peter is like that," she says. "He makes things better."

It's half term for most schools this week and a chance for teachers to take a breather. Our edition of Friday magazine has lots to entertain you - the final instalment of Peter Clark's book on the Ridings and, in the week when we're all adjusting to darker evenings, a surreal image about time in "The Big Picture". On our Subject of the Week" pages, which focus on special needs, a father describes a battle on behalf of his hyperactive son. Meanwhile, take the time to remember a brilliant colleague and send me a postcard with your nomination for Bouquet of the Week.

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

Sarah Bayliss Friday editor

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