Friday Hero

5th March 2004 at 00:00
Heather Gough has been deputy head of College Park infant school, Portsmouth, for 23 years.

It's her 60th birthday next week and Heather will be retiring in July.

College Park is a big, popular, four-form entry infant school in the inner city but just 10 minutes from the sea. Thirty years ago friends and parents of the school built an indoor swimming pool and Heather has made it her job to keep the pool "afloat", when finances have been tricky, and to help teach every child to swim.

Heather, who's in charge of physical education, takes several classes a week (there are 344 children on roll) and gets in the water with the four-year-olds from reception to give them extra confidence. "She believes it's vital for our children to learn to swim, living on what's effectively an island (Portsea) and a naval port," says headteacher Debbie Anderson who nominated her for our flowers, champagne and chocolates.

Heather suffers from asthma and at a recent Health Week raised money for asthma research by taking part in a sponsored swim with staff and pupils.

Debbie has been head for less than a year but says Heather's support has been invaluable. "She's a real treasure." Today they'll both be in fancy dress to celebrate World Book Day and to open a new library in the recently converted caretaker's house.

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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