Judy Bradley

14th February 2003 at 00:00
Judy Bradley is the office manager at Canterbury Cross primary school in Perry Barr, Birmingham

This is a large primary school with around 500 pupils, just 10 minutes from the city centre. Most families are from Asia, and Judy plays a big role in supporting them with information and advice, putting the school at the heart of the community. Headteacher Ann Boyle, who nominated her for our flowers, champagne and chocolates, says she is "the lynchpin", involved in every aspect of school life.

Canterbury Cross is a "cheque book" school, organising payments for everything bar the teachers' salaries. Judy, who has taken accountancy exams and will soon study to become a bursar, is instrumental in negotiating special deals from suppliers and making bids for extra funds.

"She takes all the hard work and stress out of the bidding process," says Ann Boyle.

The school has a friendly reputation, with lots of out-of- hours activities. Judy organises refreshments and any payments to outside staff, and steps in to cover sickness. (Last week she ran the homework club when a teacher was absent.) On Fridays, people take it in turns to cook lunch for the entire staff. "Judy buys all the ingredients on a Wednesday - she's always behind the scenes, making sure everything works."

The staff have strong motives for making this a safe and happy school. The new year killings of two teenage girls that shocked the whole city happened less than 300 metres away and, although no families were directly affected, there is concern. "This is a school where all the children feel valued and secure. We get to know them well and Judy's kindness and hard work underpins all that."

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