How many heads does it take?

23rd September 2005 at 01:00
Garnteg primary near Pontypool is a lovely school. A low, stone building around a hexagonal core, with fine views across the valley, it has wonderful grounds, maintained by the children, and a full-sized climbing wall. Inside, all is space and light, with green carpets, white walls and wooden ceilings.

But the school's real asset is Mike Kelly, the head.

Not only has he turned the former failing school round; he is uniquely qualified to change the light bulbs. For the architects, bless them, did not realise that some lights placed artfully high against the pitched wooden ceiling could be reached only with the aid of scaffolding or a step-ladder.

No problem for Mr Kelly, though. A qualified climbing instructor, he simply slings a climbing rope over an adjacent beam and the job is done in a trice.

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