Bouquet of the week

8th May 1998 at 01:00
Sometimes I can't help thinking "Aren't those children lucky?" Aren't they lucky to have met a teacher who they will happily remember all their lives? For it's quite likely that their futures will be different because of that person - an influential, professional adult doing a great job.

Rachel Partridge and Jona-than Craike are two 16-year-olds who would agree, I'm sure. Caroline Small is their drama teacher at Hope Valley College, a comprehensive in the Peak District, and she is "a superstar teacher".

The postcard from Rachel and Jonathan nominating Ms Small for Bouquet of the Week says: "Everyone loves drama. Her GCSE results are brilliant, school productions are out of this world. She's fantastic, fun, sensitive, patient and has more energy than any of us!" Hope Valley College is set in a stunning landscape of Derby-shire moors and farmland. ("That's another reason I'm here," says Ms Small. "You can see the hills and I love walking.") Every year about a third of the children and many of its staff are involved in a drama production, often scripted by Ms Small. This year they did Adrian Mitchell's version of Kipling's story, Mowgli's Jungle.

Rachel and Jonathan have been in every school production since they were fresh-faced Year 7s, and they certainly won't forget this one. Jonathan played Mowgli and Rachel was Kaa, the 30-foot rock python.

"When I first came here," says headteacher Linda Hudson, "people said to me: 'You'll enjoy the drama, it's something different'. And it's true - the productions are fantastic. It brings tears to your eyes because you can see the children grow through their performance.

"Caroline's got this incredible ability to draw people in," says Ms Hudson, "and to get them giving 100 per cent."

A graduate in Italian and French, Caroline is a keen writer, and this autumn will have her first children's play published called Stop! Think! Rewind! It's a drugs education play, performed by older children for younger ones - just the kind of thing drugs czar Keith Hellawell might be looking for.

Her writing is so successful - she also works on scripts for a small professional theatre company - that she's now doing a four-day teaching week, which gives her a breathing space and conserves her energy. The perfect job, she would say.

Bouquet of the Week is given in association with Marks amp; 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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