Friday Hero

24th June 2005 at 01:00
At Common Road infant and nursery school near Pontefract, West Yorkshire, they have a caretaker who is anything but ordinary. Alan Thomas has been working there for six years and, in that time, staff agree he has transformed the place.

"It's just unbelievable," says Heather Tebbett, the foundation stage and Year 1 teacher who nominated him for our flowers, chocolates and champagne.

"Little did we know the immense skills he would bring with him. Not only are the daily caretaking jobs outstandingly dealt with but the extra little things he does are wonderful."

Alan has brought neglected areas of the school's large outside space back into use, revitalising an old pond, designing and planting a peace garden, putting up canopies to create an all-weather cycling track and recycling blackboards made obsolete by new technology to make an alfresco art area.

Inside the school, the wooden rainbows in every classroom and painted play train are evidence of his carpentry skills and there are umpteen other examples of his handiwork around the 240-pupil school.

Alan is an ex-colliery worker who was born and bred near the school in South Kirby. "We are in quite a disadvantaged area so everything he does is really appreciated," says Heather.

And when he's not turning his hand to odd jobs great and small, Alan enjoys a practical joke. On Red Nose Day, he added cartoon features to the staff photographs on the school noticeboard and Heather and her colleagues hope to give him a surprise of their own by announcing his Friday Hero nomination in assembly.

"There are so many fantastic things that he's done for everyone at the school," she says, "that we feel it would voice our appreciation for his unselfish and generous nature if he were to be a Friday Hero - because to us he is!"

We know there are heroes out there. Tell Sarah Bayliss, TESFriday editor, about yours at the address on the left. Flowers kindly supplied by Marks Spencer

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today