Bouquet of the week;Maureen Black

9th April 1999 at 01:00
Enjoy your holidays while you can - I'm sure the staff of Drumoak primary near Banchory, Aberdeenshire, are having a fine old time. They started their break with an end-of-term party at an Italian restaurant in Aberdeen where, according to headteacher Pat James, the waiters let you dance on the tables.

This teaching head is planning to retire in a couple of years, but for now is celebrating an outstanding Ofsted report. Hence the party. And a postcard to Friday magazine nominating Maureen Black, secretary of this school and another school down the road, for Bouquet of the Week.

Pat James can't imagine life without Maureen Black. "She's unflappable, handles all the paperwork and keeps me on the straight and narrow."

They both joined this rural primary seven years ago when Pat James arrived from England as a teaching head. She'd had three headships in England and was "passionate" about small, village schools but she needed to learn about the Scottish system fast and get to know a whole community. All this and teach a class of six and seven-year-olds four days a week. So Maureen Black was invaluable.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays she works in the little office at Drumoak and the other two she's close by at Woodlands primary, in an even tinier office. "There's no escape for her - I always know where she is," says Pat. So how come Maureen never gets the two schools muddled up?

It helps that her husband is the "senior jannie " (caretaker) at the local academy (secondary school) with responsibility for repairs at Drumoak. Their two sons are at the academy too, so there's not a lot that Maureen doesn't know about.

OFSTED found a school with a strong standing in the community and a great team, including five teachers.

What makes teachers run? That's the question on our Mind and Body pages where you'll meet teachers who are hooked on the high of running. Jill Craven discovers the lure of the London Marathon which attracts nearly 2,000 teachers - one of the biggest professional groups - to its start. In 10 days' time those teachers will be racing to raise thousands of pounds for charity. There's still time to sponsor one near you.

Picture: Derek Ironside

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