Friday Hero

16th September 2005 at 01:00
Thanks for doing a brilliant job

The primary literacy strategy might not have been greeted with huge enthusiasm by teachers, but in Jennie Ransom's capable hands it became an inspirational text.

"Right from the start she took a strategy that some thought prescriptive and restricting, and showed how it could be manipulated to be both supportive and creative," says Lizann O'Conor, of the primary strategy team for the London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham. "Of course, now that's the tune on everyone's lips; we are so lucky that Jennie took us there from the start."

In July, Jennie stood down as the borough's senior literacy consultant, and Lizann, with colleagues Katrine Bulley and Paula Frew, who nominated her for our flowers, chocolate and champagne, were sorry to see her go.

Among her many qualities are "a wonderful sense of humour and fantastic dry wit. She is our Victoria Wood - or do I mean Victor Meldrew?" and an "encyclopaedic knowledge of literature and an endless delight in books".

Her "idiosyncratic" way with new technology - "She's the only one who can work her computer," says Lizann, "and IT support can't do a thing with it!"

- is just one of her many endearing qualities that will be missed around the office.

"What's special about the way she deals with everyone - children and teachers - is that she acknowledges their intellectual possibilities while still making everything such good fun that no one realises how much they are learning."

When she's not working, Jennie is an energetic walker and keen gardener and, at 65, has only just given up her pilot's licence. After 40 years in education, teaching in primary and secondary schools and as a teacher trainer, you might think she would be looking forward to a well earned rest.

But she's not retiring; instead she will be returning to the classroom to teach one day a week in two primary schools in the borough - Normand Croft and Old Oak - and, says Lizann, "you can see the sparkle in her eye".

We know there are heroes out there. Tell Sarah Bayliss, TES Friday editor, about yours at the address above. Flowers kindly supplied by Marks Spencer

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