Thanks for doing a brilliant job

Some people will go to great lengths to avoid unpleasant experiences. When Ofsted calls at Croft nursery school in Nottingham later this month, Anne Corcoran will be 3,500 miles away in Dubai.

"Moving to the other side of the world is a little extreme," says Barbara Breakwell, the school's headteacher. Anne "feels a bit guilty" about leaving her colleagues at such a crucial time, she says, but has flown out to the Gulf state with her 15-year-old daughter, Hannah, to join her husband who is working there as an engineer.

But Ms Breakwell is prepared to forgive her - and was moved to nominate Anne for our flowers, champagne and chocolate, which were presented last term - for all the good work she has put in during 20 years as deputy head of the inner-city nursery.

"She is amazing," she says. "Vibrant, spontaneous and an inspiration to everybody. She always seems so positive." During her time at the school, a nursery catering for more than 80 children, Ms Breakwell calculates that Anne has "influenced 2,000 lives".

Many parents and ex-pupils have been in to say goodbye to Anne, who, Ms Breakwell says, will be missed for her personal enthusiasm as much as her professional qualities. "She can turn her hand to anything." As Croft's special needs co-ordinator, Anne has made innovative use of digital photography in pupil assessment. She has also passed on her love of nature to the children via the school's well tended garden and is no wallflower herself when called on to perform.

"She has a tendency to dress up," says Ms Breakwell. "She has been Pudsey Bear, Percy the park keeper and Cruella de Vil. She enters into the spirit of things and if there's a role to play she'll play it willingly." Acting's loss has been teaching's gain, it seems.

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

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