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Two are a close act

(Photograph) - Infant school teacher Jane Hunsley, 39, (right), and her classroom assistant Carol Deane, 60, are a model of good communication. They are so close, they joke that they could be mother and daughter.

When they first started working together in 2003, Miss Hunsley was a beginner, fresh from the graduate teacher programme. Mrs Deane had been working at their school, Boyne Hill infants in Maidenhead, Berkshire, for around 15 years.

The new teacher looked up to her assistant. She had the wisdom of experience and her contributions have been valued ever since. They work together late into the night and are members of the same union, The Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

"I feel really lucky, said Miss Hunsley, "Carol is so efficient and I don't think I could do my job without her. I'm up until midnight most days even with her help. It's great to have someone to bounce ideas off. We are always texting each other in the evenings, talking about new projects."

Mrs Deane, who is contracted to work 30 hours a week with the same class, said she sees herself as a "knowledgeable companion".

"We are lucky because I don't have to swap between classes," she said, "changing gear all the time. It's created a strong bond, and a lot of teachers and assistants, especially in secondary schools, don't have that."

Irena Barker

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