Rose Flaherty

21st February 2003 at 00:00
Rose Flaherty is the senior meals supervisor and senior classroom assistant at Parkwood primary school in the London borough of Hackney.

She's been at the school for 26 years, says Patricia Cardis, the headteacher who appointed her and who has been there for even longer.

"We've worked together through thick and thin," says the head, having nominated Rose for our flowers, champagne and chocolates.

Such loyalty and long service brings its rewards. The school has 222 pupils aged three to 11, and Rose knows them all. She started working at Parkwood when she lived in the Finsbury Park neighbourhood, where she brought up her children. She eventually moved away from the area, but kept her job.

Amazingly, she is still the first member of staff to arrive in the morning - at 7.30, even though she's only paid from 8.45.

Rose always finds jobs that need doing - displays to put up, books to tidy, parents to talk to and advise. She lends a hand in the office when they're busy and gives the impression that nothing is too much trouble.

At lunchtime she is very much in charge. "She's quite tiny in stature," says Pat Cardis, "but the children really take notice of her. We must be one of the calmest schools in north London at lunchtime." She's a friendly face in the playground too, and the first-aider. "We have several refugee families and asylum seekers' children who need that extra bit of comfort."

Rose has a big heart and reassures them all.

During the school day she's giving support in the classrooms, encouraging skills and confidence. And each term she organises a disco for all the children. "She makes sure they all have fun." Thank you, Rose.

Send the name of your Friday Hero to Sarah Bayliss, Friday, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX, or email sarah.bayliss@tes.co.uk. Flowers kindly supplied by Marks amp; Spencer

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