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Teacher shortlisted for special award

PUBLISHED: 13:03 05 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:18 03 March 2010

A MUCH-LOVED Suffolk teacher is on the shortlist for a prestigious award - in recognition of his tireless work over the years.

Roy Plumbly has been put forward for a Teaching Award for lifetime achievement, after teaching at Hadleigh High School for 35 years, alongside his wife, Merike (Mel).

A MUCH-LOVED Suffolk teacher is on the shortlist for a prestigious award – in recognition of his tireless work over the years.

Roy Plumbly has been put forward for a Teaching Award for lifetime achievement, after teaching at Hadleigh High School for 35 years, alongside his wife, Merike (Mel).

The school originally wanted to nominate the couple jointly, but this wasn't possible because of the way the awards are organised.

However, Mr Plumbly said: "This is really for both of us – we have always worked together."

He commented: "As teachers, you have got to be seen to be fair and firm as well, but also you need to keep that element of fun."

As the couple, both in their late 50s, prepare to retire at the end of term, they show no signs of slowing down.

In fact, they are currently organising the school's annual summer camp at Shottisham, as they have done every year since the 1970s.

"The Plumblys are an institution," said Ian Carrington, headteacher at Hadleigh High School.

"They are known to everybody as the Plums – and that includes the children!

They have been here ever since April 1966 and have contributed so much to the school and the community."

Mr Carrington only started at the school in January this year, and said it has been great to have the support of a couple like the Plumblys, who know the school so well.

"It's wonderful to see two people who are nearing the end of their teaching career and still have so much enthusiasm and vim. Roy and Mel have put so much into teaching and get on brilliantly with young people."

Mr Plumbly teaches Maths at the school, while his wife teaches textiles, but they are also both involved in many other activities both at the school and in the wider Hadleigh community.

The couple have been running the school camps for 30 years, which means they have taken around 3,000 youngsters camping over that time – including the parents of many of their current pupils.

Mr Carrington said they had amazing memories and seemed to remember just about every child they had ever taught.

Mr Plumbly runs the school cricket coaching and is chairman of Hadleigh Cricket Club, while Mrs Plumbly is a stalwart of the parent-teacher association.

The BT Teaching Awards ceremony for the eastern region will be held at St Andrew's Hall in Norwich tomorrow.

An awards panel of representatives from across the education community has been assessing hundreds of nominations from headteachers, teachers, learning support assistants, pupils, parents and school governors – all honouring "ordinary" teachers who do extraordinary work.

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