Bouquet of the week

13th November 1998 at 00:00
The view from Jo Williams's classroom at Elleray Preparatory School must be one of the best in Britain. "There's the shoreline with Lake Windermere and I can see beyond the water, up to the Langdale Pikes."

The Pikes are small mountains rising to 3,000 feet ("they feel like mountains when you're climbing them"), and Jo should know since being outdoors is one of her passions. As an after-school activity, she runs cub and beaver packs and takes children fell-walking, youth host-elling, camping and sailing.

She's lived in the Lake District since childhood and trained as a primary teacher at Charlotte Mason College in Ambleside. After her first job away, she jumped at the chance to return to Elleray, which became established under an ex-Gordonstoun teacher on the principles of Kurt Hahn.

"One of our aims is service to others," explains headteacher Susan Cooper, "and Jo is always full of good ideas on that score."

The school is part of the "Round Square" group of international schools which share the philosophy of Kurt Hahn, and Elleray has a tradition of chairing Round Square meetings for children. From one of these sprang a desire to do something practical, and Jo Williams suggested a sensory garden for severely disabled children at a local school in Kendall.

The garden, researched and designed by 10-year-olds, was built in a five-day marathon effort by parents, children and staff. "We did something special, " says Jo. "There was a great sense of companionship through hard work and of a task worth doing."

Ever ready for a challenge Jo, a Year 4 teacher, has been studying headship through the national professional qualification for headship, and soon Elleray will be saying a fond farewell to this popular and energetic teacher. She's moving in January to lead a small village primary south of Lancaster - Thurnham Glasson Christ Church of England School.

Small schools need multi-talented teachers and you can see why Jo's been chosen. She's a wizard with computers, plays the piano, flute and guitar and loves dramatic productions.

"We will be a quieter place without her," says Susan Cooper, who nominated Jo for Bouquet of the Week. "And her new school is very lucky."

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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