Tony Jackman

12th March 2004 at 00:00
Tony Jackman is an IT technician at Farnborough sixth-form college in Hampshire.

He's a Mr Fixit who everyone turns to with computer problems, big or small.

He's part of a team and he runs the IT help desk of this college's huge resource centre, built with sponsorship four years ago. Known as the Dell - someone down there must be a Southampton supporter, but it's Dell computers that has provided the hardware - it has banks of computers in a central area with specially equipped side rooms for teaching. Recently, Tony devised an on-screen booking service, which has simplified teachers' lives; at the touch of a button they can see if a room's free.

Diana Laffin, the senior curriculum manager who nominated Tony for our flowers, champagne and chocolates, is full of admiration. "He sorts out the most computer-phobic student or demanding staff with equal aplomb." A calm, working atmosphere in the resource centre is largely down to Tony, and Diana says he defuses any rowdiness with "non-confrontational good humour".

The most commonly expressed problem is: "I'm stuck, can you help me?" But with some students using advanced software, Tony gets just as involved in their learning too.

The college is largely focused on academic exams from GCSEs to A-levels, and with 2,000 students it serves all the town's schools and beyond.

Everyone knows Tony. To raise funds on Children in Need day he agreed to have his head shaved in the canteen. "It was quite a brave thing to do in public . He had a decent amount of hair to start with." Brave indeed.

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

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