Phil Reeves

3rd June 2005 at 01:00
They're planning to keep chickens at Batheaston CE primary school, inspired by caretaker Phil Reeves's talent for animal husbandry. The guinea pigs pictured here are just one of the many responsibilities he's taken on.

Phil only arrived two years ago at the 216-pupil primary just outside Bath, and in that short time has made a big impression on the place, as well as the people. Routinely working a 12-hour day, he's also put his energies into a major landscaping project.

Headteacher Jacqui Coulby used money she'd won in the national teaching awards to begin this environmental project to transform the outdoor space at Batheaston. Phil's involvement, she says, has been "definitely earth-moving". Already every class has a vegetable patch, there's a dry stone wall going up, an adventure trail and plans for a "henge" with rocks that Phil researched at local quarries.

This summer's leavers from Year 6 will be the first to add their fossil collection to a wall that is designed to grow year by year, layer by layer, as children say goodbye and move on to secondary school. "If a child has behaviour difficulties and needs an incentive, Phil will always think of something. He involves children in all his discoveries," says Jacqui Coulby, who shares the headship with Sarah Weber.

Using volunteers, including grandparents and local companies, is part of the project. The brook that runs through the grounds will be used to farm crayfish eventually - there are local people who remember when the native breed died out and want to help bring it back. "It's amazing how all sorts of people are getting involved. It's very exciting," says Jacqui.

Year 4 teacher Claire Wall nominated Phil for our flowers, champagne and chocolates on behalf of all the staff. Describing him as "an all-round saviour", she says he inspires others, especially by the way he's faced his own granddaughter's serious illness. They're full of admiration.

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

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