Friday Hero

6th June 2003 at 01:00
Lisa Holmes is the ICT suite manager at Five Acres primary school, in Ambrosden, near Bicester, Oxfordshire.

Ambrosden, the site of a large army garrison, has been full of traffic and tension in recent months. Around half of Five Acres's 235 pupils are from forces families, and many had parents sent to Iraq. According to Michelle Mairs, an assistant headteacher who nominated Lisa for our flowers, champagne and chocolates, communication with the absent fathers - and a few mothers - was helped enormously by Lisa.

"When the army came in to talk to us and to liaise it was obvious that Lisa, with all her ICT skills, could make a big difference," she says. Lisa worked with the Ministry of Defence to set up a system allowing children to send e-blueys (emails) to the Gulf. She came in early every morning to help families send messages. "It was a great comfort at a stressful time.What a hero," says Ms Mairs.

Lisa first arrived as a school governor while working as an ICT trainer for the Thames Valley Police. She became a classroom assistant but within weeks she'd stunned everyone with her ICT skills and was made ICT suite manager.

She was in the right place at the right time; the facilities were in place but expertise was lacking. In less than 18 months the suite had been rated one of the best in the county and is now used for training by Ofsted and school staff.

As well as maintaining the computers, printers, cameras and whiteboards, she also trains and guides staff and children, and writes lesson plans. "If you're doing a lesson with spreadsheets or data processing she sets it all up with the right software. Then she's there throughout the lesson supporting everyone," says Ms Mairs.

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