Making the grade?

A former dinner lady who has gone on to become headteacher in the space of less than a decade has said landing the top job feels like her “destiny”. Rebecca Clarke went from serving up school lunches to leading staff and students at Greenleas School in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, in just nine years.

What inspired her?

Mrs Clarke said she realised she wanted to work in education in 2006 when she volunteered as a parent helper at the school her daughter Elizabeth attended. “I was listening to the children read and when they started to make sense of those marks on the page, I thought: ‘This is what I want to be doing’,” she told the BBC.

Was it as simple as ABC?

Unsurprisingly, it took a great deal of work for Mrs Clarke, now 47, to achieve her goal. In 2007 she took on the role of midday supervisor, looking after children at lunch times. During this period she began a teaching course. By the following year she had completed her qualification and had started teaching four- and five-year-olds in reception classes.

Experience is the best teacher…

Mrs Clarke enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks and was appointed deputy head before becoming the school’s acting head in June 2013. “It seems it had been my destiny,” Mrs Clarke said. “This is the best job in the world.”

How many pupils is she responsible for?

The school, which is spread over two sites in Leighton Buzzard, is attended by 600 children aged from two to nine. Mrs Clarke said experience of a variety of roles in the school had equipped her to deal with her current job and allowed her to see things from all perspectives.

Is everybody pleased to have Mrs Clarke at the helm?

It seems so. Governor Tim Hodey said: “Mrs Clarke is very resilient and has brought stability to the school.” He added: “She has a great sense of fun, is loved by the children and respected by the parents… [She] has given a great sense of pride to the school.”

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