Thanks for doing a brilliant job

6th May 2005 at 01:00
It was site supervisor Clare Dunkley's birthday recently and the staff at Blisworth community primary school near Northampton gave her a makeover, Trinny and Susannah style. Sportingly, she swapped her usual Doc Martens and jeans for a little black dress and killer heels. That was a lively assembly.

Everyone at Blisworth wants to thank Clare for being brilliant, especially the new headteacher, Celia Irwin, who nominated her for our flowers, champagne and chocolates. When Ms Irwin started her job last September the Victorian school was part building site with an extension in progress. "We were inches thick with dust, but Clare didn't bat an eyelid. She just gets on with things and tells me I'm worrying about nothing."

Clare has multiple skills: she can unblock drains; lop trees; fit kitchens; repair furniture - even restore it if it's antique. "When we bought new desks, she took the tops off the old ones and boarded out the attic with them," says Ms Irwin.

Her pragmatism extends to people. She's not exactly a diplomat - "she calls a spade a spade" - but is full of kindness and "totally committed and involved". She was a Blisworth pupil herself and now lives on site with her two sons, Luke,11, and Tom (pictured here), who's in Year 6.

Clare's also the school crossing patrol and is so friendly with local teenagers that "no one would dream of vandalising our school; someone would be sure to tell her who'd done it". She digs the school garden, drives her people carrier full of children to the theatre and organises a Christmas present for every child. Sounds like an extended family? Well, her mum Jane is a school governor and her dad, an actor, always plays Father Christmas.

Sounds like a happy school to us.

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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