Shirley Hayler

6th December 2002 at 00:00
Shirley Hayler is manager of the sixth form learning resources centre at Heart of England school, Balsall Common, Solihull.

"She's our rock, she's like a second mum, she's wonderful." So wrote head girl Alex Read and her friends in the sixth form, who wanted to say a big thank you to Shirley Hayler with our flowers, champagne and chocolates. For those in Year 13 applying to university this term, she has been a guiding hand, helping them make their UCAS choices and to apply online.

Heart of England school has 1,270 pupils and a sixth form of 210. It's a high achieving place (more than 70 per cent get five grades A*-C), which Ofsted has described as "a very good school". At stressful times, like the exam season and when students change their minds about A-level choices or careers, Shirley is a calming and informed influence. Hers is the only non-teaching job in the sixth form - there are 19 teacher-tutors and year heads - and much of the administration falls to her.

Shirley has two children at the school and first worked in the library. The suite of computers she now runs is the hub of the centre with a bank of resources as well as internet access. This is where students study in their non-contact periods and come to her for advice. Informally, she's their agony aunt. Alex writes: "She is a shoulder to cry on who puts things in perspective and stays impartial."

Dr Colin Pierpoint, deputy head and current head of sixth form, backs his students' choice. "Shirley is proactive and very good at monitoring the climate - how the students are feeling. She has a happy, gregarious personality, and is always smiling and approachable. We are very, very lucky to have her."

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

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today