Friday Hero

18th June 2004 at 01:00
Iris Jackson is a volunteer at Willesborough infant school in Ashford, Kent.

She used to work at the local library, and when she retired found herself "at a loose end". Still full of energy, she rides to school on her bicycle most days to help out with reading support and wall displays; over the years she's also transformed the school library, cataloguing, labelling shelves and repairing all the books.

"She's the sort of person who would do anything for the school," says headteacher Judith Paul, who was especially grateful when Iris came in over the Easter holiday to help prepare for an Ofsted inspection. "Nothing is too much trouble. She's always very kind to the children and has a twinkle in her eye; but she's also unassuming and has a self-deprecating side."

Iris became involved through her daughter-in-law, who works at Willesborough as a teaching assistant, and her twin grandsons, who are now at secondary school. Tina Godden, an NQT who also used to be a teaching assistant, nominated Iris for our flowers, champagne and chocolates, saying she is so deserving and that everyone was delighted to have her back after a recent bout of pneumonia.

Willesborough is a large school with five forms of entry, 425 pupils and a special designation to take children with physical disabilities. Currently there are six in wheelchairs, most of whom have cerebral palsy. The building is "sprawling Fifties" and the juniors is on the same site, which makes transfer easier.

On a recent head-count for an Investors in People application, Judith Paul reckoned about 70 adults were involved, including the governors. "We are a very inclusive school but everyone agrees Iris is special," says Ms Paul.

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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