Ian Tuer

18th November 2005 at 00:00
He's a countryman, a singer of songs and a storyteller with his heart in the Lake District, although his job title reads: attendance officercover manager. The fact is, Ian Tuer is a man of many parts, and daily life at Ullswater community college in Penrith would be "unthinkable" without him.

So says Andy Oglethorpe, who nominated him for our flowers, champagne and chocolates. "His enthusiasm never dips, his energy never wanes. He's an amazing larger-than-life person who oils the wheels and gets on and does things."

The school, for 1,450 students aged 11-18, jumped at the chance to give him a job four years ago. His CV shows he's been a pupil, a parent, a governor and chair of the parent-teacher association, and, according to Andy Oglethorpe, he knows the place inside out.

Ian used to be a fishmonger in this country town and runs a walking club called Tuer's Tours, so his face is known to hundreds if not thousands.

Having a good relationship with local families relates to the "attendance officer" half of his job; organising cover for absent teachers requires diplomacy with a practical bent - he covers the classes himself if need be.

Alongside his paid job, Ian runs the annual ski trip, produces a Christmas panto, coaches and referees boys' and girls' football, and helps out with Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions. Best of all are the two-day residentials for Year 7 pupils that he now leads at Hellvellyn youth hostel. Nine tutor groups go over the course of a year to learn teamwork, communication skills and problem solving, all of which fit neatly into the school's specialist status for business and enterprise.

Ian's storytelling skills come in handy when they're tramping through high bracken, hunting for "wild haggis", which, according to Mr Tuer, have mysteriously migrated from the Scottish borders. His personal challenge is to sing a song on any topic the children name - rocks, rabbits, bridges, crocodiles - you get the picture; the record is 130 songs. He also holds a record for eating curried sausages - Cumberland sausages obviously. Isn't there a song about sausages... Heroes are out there, but we need you to reveal them in all their glory.

Think of the person in your school - teacher, classroom assistant, governor, cook - who always goes the extra mile. Then tell us about them in a letter or email to Sarah Bayliss at the address on the left. Go on, they deserve recognition. (Flowers kindly supplied by Marks Spencer)

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