Bouquet of the week;Jayne Jones

12th March 1999 at 00:00
This week our flowers go to another unsung heroine working her socks off in a school. Jayne Jones is secretary at Belbroughton Church of England First School but she's also a qualified first- aider, an after-school care assistant, does regular playground duty and seems to turn her hand to anything - including DIY.

Joan Holford, headteacher of this 95-pupil village school near Stourbridge in the West Midlands, says Jayne is "always willing to lend a hand whether it's putting up a shelf, clearing up after a sick child or dismantling a shed". Dismantling a shed?

It was a derelict bird-hide that had fallen into disrepair. One day a boy got trapped inside - for a very short time, Jayne hastens to tell me - but she was pretty cross. "So I went up the field and destroyed it." It was mid-autumn and Jayne had another motive - the PTA always has a big bonfire for November 5 and that year the remains of the hide made a lovely blaze.

Jayne now has a tool box under her desk and enjoys fixing things - including the photocopier and computers in the classrooms. "If I can't mend it I'll call someone who can," says Jayne. Her skills have partly grown out of tragic circumstance since her husband died suddenly three years ago. He was in his early 40s and Jayne says he always fixed everything at home. "I've just had to learn how to do more," she says.

Jayne's two children, once pupils at the school, are now teenagers. She says the whole village rallied round the family when tragedy struck and "kept us afloat". She reckons she owes a debt of gratitude to everyone - "I couldn't have done it without the children, the staff and the parents."

These days Jayne loves her job. "I know it sounds mad, but I love getting up and coming to work."

The TES book awards are in their 26th year and highlight the best in children's non-fiction publishing. This year the Schoolbook Award ties in with our campaign, Music for the Millennium, and both winning books celebrate the teaching of singing. The prize winners in our Information Book Awards both go to the subject of war. These accounts of suffering, heroism and the continuation of domestic life against the backdrop of war should be read by all children - and their teachers.

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 Magazine editor

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