Caroline Banks

31st October 2003 at 00:00
Caroline Banks is a lab technician at Glenburn school, Skelmersdale, Lancashire.

Caroline has a degree in biochemistry and makes a big difference to the science department of seven teachers, for whose lessons she prepares equipment and resources. The school's five laboratories and two additional classrooms are spread over three floors but Caroline has a calm head and is a wizard at coping with teachers' last-minute requests ("which we all try to avoid but resort to on a regular basis"), says head of department Jon Hayes.

Mr Hayes, who arrived at Glenburn a year ago, says Caroline is one of two technicians who work exceptionally hard and keep everything running smoothly. Nominating Caroline for our flowers, champagne and chocolates, he points to her good humour and fantastic wall displays. "We just give her the theme and the children's work and she arranges everything." A trip to Chester Zoo, "best work" and the science club have all featured in displays this term.

Glenburn is an improving 11-16 school, currently applying for sports college status with 40 per cent top GCSE grades this summer. Caroline works part-time, arriving by 7am, and does a huge amount to reduce teacher workload - ordering chemicals and equipment, photocopying and just being generally helpful.

She's also the mother of three children under seven, including Charlotte, who has Down's syndrome and who represented Great Britain at gymnastics in a competition in Portugal this summer. On her non-working days Caroline is a volunteer at a playgroup and helps raise sponsorship for Charlotte's gym club. How does she fit it all in?

Is there an unsung hero in your school? Tell Sarah Bayliss, TES Friday editor, about him or her at the address below. Flowers kindly supplied by Marks amp; Spencer

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