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School head and builder swap roles

PUBLISHED: 14:40 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:04 08 July 2010

Hamond's High School head Yve Srodzinski and building site manager John Potter swap roles for the day.

Hamond's High School head Yve Srodzinski and building site manager John Potter swap roles for the day.

A head teacher donned a hard hat yesterday as she switched roles with the builder who has been renovating her school for the past two years.

An ambitious £11m project to revitalise Hamond's High School in Swaffham is now in its final stages.

A head teacher donned a hard hat yesterday as she switched roles with the builder who has been renovating her school for the past two years.

An ambitious £11m project to revitalise Hamond's High School in Swaffham is now in its final stages.

Throughout the building work, head teacher Yve Srodzinski has kept a careful eye on progress and continuously liaised with site manager John Potter, to ensure everything runs smoothly.

And during a day-long role swap, done as part of National Customer Service Week, Mrs Srodinski got to deepen her understanding of the building trade as she briefly took control of the building project.

For his part, Mr Potter left his steel toe-capped boots and hi-visibility jacket at home to take school assembly and head several meetings with staff and students as acting head teacher.

Mrs Srodinski said: “It has been one of the best days I have had for a long, long time and much more interesting than I would have thought.

“I have been round snagging and been part of a team review meeting.

“The meeting was fascinating and there were aspects of it I can take back and use in school.”

Mrs Srodzinski also supervised the removal of several mobile classrooms from the school in her new role as site manager.

The units are no longer needed as the building work, which is set to be completed in March next year, has now reached a stage where there are enough permanent classrooms available for the school's needs.

Meanwhile, as the real head got to grips with the finer points of the building trade, Mr Potter, who is more used to leading a crew of burly builders, took charge of the 805-pupil school.

Having just taken an assembly with more than 100 pupils, in which he drew on his own life experience to talk to the children about cancer, he took five minutes to talk to the Times before heading off to a school council meeting.

The site manager, who left school at 15, said: “I have enjoyed the day but I will be glad to get my hard hat back on tomorrow. I have only seen the tip of the iceberg as to what a head has to do. It is hard work”

The Hamond's School project has been a challenging job for Mr Potter and his team from Mansell Construction.

The school has been in operation throughout the work, which has meant planning has been of the foremost importance.

Mr Potter takes great pride in the fact that at no point has the work prevented the children from continuing with their day-to-day learning.

The final phase of the project is to complete the school's new hall and art block.

The new sixth-form centre, which is currently being used to provide extra classroom space, will also open next year.

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