Friday Hero

10th October 2003 at 01:00
Angela Williamson has three jobs at Lostock college, a specialist school in the performing arts in Stretford, Manchester.

Angela started as a welfare assistant five years ago, working one hour a day at lunchtimes. But her open, friendly manner struck an instant chord with staff and pupils, so now she's multi-tasking four hours a day, doing all sorts. Derek Davies, the deputy headteacher who appointed her and nominated her for our flowers, champagne and chocolates, says: "She has an instant rapport - she can talk to students and listen to their problems.

They love her and call her Nana."

Lostock is a challenging school but Angela has helped change pupil behaviour. Her home-spun wisdom teaches students the value of manners and respect for adults and for each other. "She talks to them all the time, about their school and about how we're working together."

In March this year the school came out of a long period in serious weaknesses; Ofsted particularly noted the positive attitude of students in relation to their school.

Angela's jobs include making tea and coffee for teachers at breaktime, corridor duties and ensuring the site is kept clean and litter-free. "She's a wonderful mixture of firmness and fairness with bags of affection for the college and students. She has a massive impact," says Mr Davies.

Angela, whose family originally came from Ireland, is a regular in PSHE lessons, where she's interviewed by students about Stretford and how much the community has changed. She's an ever-willing volunteer at parents'

evenings and special events, knowing everybody and spreading goodwill.

She has another job too, cleaning at the local library, which means she's an early riser - popping her head round the door at Lostock around 7am.

"She's a very caring person. We all know where we stand with her," says Mr Davies.

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

If you have a hero to nominate, a soundbite to share or a TGIF diary, write to TES Friday, Admiral House,66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX or email friday@tes.co.uk. We pay for every article we publish

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