Next year I'd like to organise a survey to prove that teachers and school staff often work as hard in the holidays as in term time. This week, like last, I'm sending flowers to another unsung heroine who was beavering away for nearly a week before term started. Meet Linda Marshall, one of those multi-talented, generous-hearted people who helps her school to thrive.
Linda works as a library assistant at Broadwater School in Godalming, Surrey, where she's also a midday supervisor and chair of the parent-teacher association. Her sons James and Ross were pupils at this 11 to 16 comprehensive and reaped the benefits of their mum's huge involvement. "I always tell parents - it's your kids who will benefit," says Linda who left school herself at 15.
Librarian Nansi Taylor nominated Linda saying she was "full of ideas and positive action". It sounds as if Broadwater was teaming with people in late August. In the library they painted walls, put up shelves and organised new stock to start the term. Michael Hall, Broadwater's headteacher paid tribute to Linda, a popular member of his staff. "She's enormously helpful, phlegmatic and flexible. And she's such a lovely person."
He says PTA meetings are "good fun" and never develop into moaning sessions. Fundraising events pay for all sorts, including a Young Citizen's handbook for Year 10 pupils titled "Your Guide to the Law" - winner of a TES book award in past years. Recently, an initiative for supporting parents has taken off with a series of seminars on themes like "living with teenagers" and "fire in the home". Linda's sons have moved on to college, so she's decided to do one more year as PTA chair. She'll be a hard act to follow but a great mentor for whoever picks up the reins. Thank you Linda and good luck Broadwater (Ofsted arrives on Monday).
This week Friday magazine considers the plight of more than 12,000 permanently-excluded children for whom there's been no "welcome back". An uplifting story from Manchester tells of a school campaign which saved the Okolo family from deportation and in Mind and Body, we interview teachers' spouses. You don't have to be married to the job but it helps and - wait for it - there are some advantages.