Bouquet of the week

6th February 1998 at 00:00
This week's flowers are winging their way to Wakefield and one of the biggest schools in the country. Angela Harrison is doing a "magnificent job" as head of careers at Outwood Grange comprehensive (2,000-plus on roll) where she is calm, efficient and impossible to fluster.

"She does much, much more than is asked of her," says Beth Brown one of the school's deputy heads who nominated her. "Her work pattern has no breathing space in it."

You feel breathless hearingabout the main task which Angela sets herself annually - organising a fortnight's work experience for 360 young people in Year 10 in an area where jobs don't come easily.

Undeterred by the challenge and having developed excellent contacts with the business community, she sets up a "Job Shop" on a huge noticeboard with hundreds of small ads. Students apply for the jobs, get shortlisted, interviewed and visittheir workplace before starting in the summer term.

The range of placements is considerable - from a Wakefield funeral parlour to the new Royal Armouries in Leeds. "They get an enormous lift from being out in the real world," says Beth Brown. "When they come back there's a strong sense of purpose and genuine incentive to do well in exams."

Angela Harrison also encourages the real world to come into school, running a regular lunchtime careers library and a mega careers convention - the last attended by more than 50 businesses, firms and colleges.

Perhaps the most unusual accolade is that Mrs Harrison doesn't mind covering lessons for absent colleagues! A design and technology specialist herself, she takes the opportunity to get to know children she doesn't teach and fills them in on the relevance of particular subjects for certain careers.

The profound effect on young people of well-structured work experience programmes is explored in our subject of the week: Business Links. The Aim High competition for high-flying partnerships between schools and companies announces its winners on pages 26 and 27 and encourages new entries for the year ahead.

You'll find many positive notes struck in Friday - take the primary school in Birmingham which gives the thumbs-up to the numeracy hour, and the first-ever manned balloon flight revealed in the Big Picture. Our cover story is a powerful tale of one woman conquering a drink problem that almost overwhelmed her. She has two jobs now - teaching and sobriety.

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