guest post #32 – david jones – @ewenfields

Dear Sandra,

Congratulations! 40 years working at the same school and still going strong! I wonder if all of your colleagues realise that you attended our school too, and that the day after your final ‘O’ levels and C.S.E.s you came back to work in the school office. I’d love to celebrate your fantastic contribution and service to our school community with an article and photo in the local papers but you are far too shy and humble to allow me to even sneak a quick picture and story opportunity.


You could tell plenty of stories but never do or would. Quietly and efficiently you have supported countless numbers of teachers, school leaders and governors. You know the school inside out, you know the intimate details of many private meetings and you have shared the joy and tears of great moments for our school and sad heart-breaking occasions too.

I wonder how many times you have saved the faces [and careers] of colleagues over the years who have felt that they know best and yet your knowledge of systems and common sense approaches has, without fuss, come to their, and our school’s rescue. Unassuming Sandra will never take the credit and I know that you worry yourself sick over some of the issues that face school, usually from the faceless bureaucrats at local or national level who are experts at causing anxiety and stress.

I know too, that your hours of pay have never restricted your work hours! When you feel that work needs finishing; don’t think that we don’t know that you sneak in on Saturday mornings or stay until the caretakers throw you out at closing time. Your work isn’t finished until you are happy that it is excellent! You have shared a life-time of commitment to our school. You care passionately about the people in our school and we all want you to know that we care about you too! You cried tears of joy when Ofsted came and said we were ‘outstanding’ Some say that it doesn’t matter but to people like you who have known both good and bad times over 40 years; it matters! The simple truth is that the school wouldn’t be in the good place it is now without ‘outstanding’ human beings like you.

It has been an absolute privilege to work with you.  Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

David Jones

Ps There are support staff like Sandra in most schools who serve their communities with loyalty and dedication. Not too many books are written about them, not too many research projects show how schools would fall apart without their input and not too many blogs mention they even exist! Don’t wait any longer-tell them they are valued and loved all year round, and not just at Xmas!


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