Friday Hero

3rd October 2003 at 01:00
Thanks for doing a brilliant job.

Andre Francart is caretaker at Beechwood preparatory school for boys at Elizabeth college, St Peter's Port , Guernsey.

He arrived three years ago when new head Suzanne Battey was taking over with a fresh teaching staff of six. Some of the new recruits were from England, including Liz Brooker, the learning support co-ordinator, who nominated him for our flowers, champagne and chocolates, but Andre has his roots firmly on the island.

"I've never known a caretaker like Andre," says Suzanne Battey who previously taught at a prep school in Twickenham, south west London. "He does everything on the premises from opening up, to cleaning, gardening and driving the school minibus. He's simply amazing."

As well as keeping the school spotless, with spring cleaning and polishing in the holidays, he's a special constable on the island, which qualifies him for the school crossing patrol. Known to the boys as "Monsieur Andre", he's a friend to all. "He takes real pride in our buildings and in the pupils," says Mrs Battey. "Everything is neat and tidy for them."

The school has 120 boys aged seven to 11, but numbers fluctuate as those employed by the finance industry on Guernsey are quite mobile. Children may come with their families for two-year stays from as far afield as Canada, Bermuda and Uruguay; some live on the smaller Channel Islands such as Herm and Brecqhou and board weekly in St Peter's Port.

Teacher Liz Brooker, who helps boys with learning difficulties, says she's especially grateful to Andre for putting the heating on in her special unit on cold winter mornings. He's also a trained chef who works two evenings a week at the local hospital. At staff parties and school "dos" his lasagne and barbecues are "to die for". You've heard of super-heads. Well, she says, here's a super-caretaker.

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

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