Tom Shutts

5th November 2004 at 00:00
Tom Shutts hasn't had much to cheer about lately - he's a Wolverhampton Wanderers fan.

As if supporting the once-mighty Wolves wasn't enough, Tom's also had to deal with the aftermath of a major fire at Bincombe Valley primary school, where he's caretaker.

During the summer holidays, contractors moved in to replace the heating and water systems at the 320-pupil school near Weymouth in Dorset. As no one was allowed on site for the duration, Tom took the opportunity to go on holiday to Spain for a month. But while he was away, fire destroyed the junior block, causing pound;500,000 of damage. "It was a great shock," says headteacher Les Strong. "But instead of sitting there worrying about it, he rolled up his sleeves and said, 'let's get cracking'."

Tom's efforts helped ensure the school reopened just a week later than it would have done - and earlier than expected - with junior classes being taught in three temporary classroom blocks in the car park.

"Through all that he's worked hard and shown a real commitment to the school," says Mr Strong. "He's proud of the place and he does keep a lovely school."

Year 5 teacher Susy Varndell, who nominated Tom for our chocolates, flowers and champagne, says Tom is "fantastic; extremely helpful to all members of staff, cheerful, polite and a joy to have around the school". And since the fire, Tom, who has a daughter at Bincombe Valley and is active in the PTA, "has worked tirelessly to establish a workable environment for staff and pupils".

At his recent 60th birthday celebrations, staff at the school bought Tom a black and gold striped broom in honour of his favourite team. And if they held a vote at the school on who's the most valuable member of staff, Tom might well sweep the board.

Is there an unsung hero in your school? Tell Sarah Bayliss, TES Friday editor, about him or her at the address opposite. Flowers kindly supplied by Marks Spencer

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