Bouquet of the week
Summer isn't over but teachers have no choice. You're back and the autumn term rollercoaster is off - starting in sunshine and ending, odds on, with slushy snow and wet playtimes. It's a challenging, hard-working term and here at Friday magazine we recognise your need to be entertained as well as informed. All our regulars are back - the Big Picture, Mind and Body, Books and Subject of the Week, starting with science. Our cover story this week reveals the motivation behind Britain's super-rich who are donating millions to educational causes.
The first unsung hero to receive our Bouquet of the Week this term inspired me the moment we spoke. She's Lorraine Clarke, a parent with boundless energy who seems to spread the feel-good factor wherever she goes.
She's got a full-time day job - it officially ends at 11.30pm - running a 104-bed youth hostel jointly with her husband in the Yorkshire Pennines. But somehow she manages to be chair of governors at Lees First School at Cross Roads near Keighley, and chair of The Folees - the friends' group attached to the school.
Her younger child Rosie, 4, started in reception yesterday while Peter, 6, is in Year 2. But Lorraine has already put in more effort than most of us manage in our children's whole school careers. Apart from cooking sustaining breakfasts for hostellers throughout this summer, she's helped transform a classroom - painting, taking up old carpets and fixing wall tiles.
Lees is about to become a primary school through to Year 6 - and for the past fortnight, teachers and classroom assistants, plus Lorraine and her helpers, have been hard at work. Every teacher is moving to a new classroom so imagine the upheaval. But with keen parents like Lorraine the task seems lighter. "People are happy to join in when they can see things happening and that they can make a difference," she says.
Acting headteacher Jean Richards nominated Lorraine at the end of last term, full of admiration for "an avid worker. She's united the governors and got lots of people working together."
Well done, and many thanks to Lorraine. Please send me a postcard nominating the person who makes a special difference at your school. I know they're out there.
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.