A deputy's job can be tough - none of the limelight but lots of hard graft. Then there are the surprises, when you find yourself in the boss's shoes just as you least expect it. Angela Green is deputy head at Flexlands School, an independent prep school for girls aged three to 11 in Chobham, Surrey. This term, after 12 years' teaching, she was expecting to welcome a new head, Ailsa Vincent and show her the ropes. Instead, one week before the start of term, Ailsa told her she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer and that surgery was imminent.
On the right you can read the Thank God It's Friday column Ailsa sent to The TES from her hospital bed.
Ailsa nominated Angela for her "kindness, warmth and physical strength" and to say thank you for the unflinching way she set to work on hearing the bad news. "My anxieties about getting the school up and running began to melt away..." Among other things Angela organised a Sunday barbecue to give Ailsa and her husband the chance to meet Flexlands staff and families before her operation.
Ailsa is grateful for that afternoon because now, while convalescing, she can put faces to names and "imagine life at school". Angela admits she's got to know her new boss much faster than she might otherwise have. "It's certainly advanced our relationship," she says. "But this is a caring school and the staff are brilliant."
Good luck Ailsa and thankyou Angela.
This week's Friday magazine is a bumper issue. Our profile of William Hague confirms his desire to be a man of the people, impressing on the writer, Jeremy Sutcliffe, that what was good enough for him - a comprehensive education in Yorkshire - will be good enough for any little Hagues. We have exclusive extracts from Frank McCourt's newly-published memoirs, recounting his first teaching job in New York in 1958. He was in at the deep end with little support, facing unruly pupils whose antics will sound familiar to inner-city teachers here and now. Finally, our subject of the week mathematics pages are published in association with Maths Year 2000. The aim of this campaign is to rid the nation of its fear of figures. The classic excuse: "I'm hopeless with numbers" just won't do in the next millennium.
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