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Like most of her charges, Lisa Dunwood lives within a few minutes’ walk of the primary school in Stogursey village, near Bridgewater, Somerset, where she has been teaching since 1997. There’s no hiding in village life. The moment she came on stage, convincingly dressed as a fairy, in the Stogursey Strollers’ production of 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears', up went the cry: 'Look, it’s Miss Dunwood!' As expected, the entire school were in the audience, so she made sure her pantomime jokes were suitable for young ears.
She moved to Stogursey to join her partner James, who lives in the village and works for Bridgewater Council. The job at the school, where there are 80 children aged four to eleven, followed soon after. Lisa, one of the three full-time teachers, is in charge of the middle class of kids, aged six to nine. Her pupils are at school from 9am until 3.30pm, but endless preparation, marking and extracurricular activities extend her hours way beyond that.
Lisa says: 'Teaching can be hard work, physically and mentally, but it’s rewarding because I love the variety of the job and the people I work with, and the kids too. I hope this does not sound too pretentious, but it’s a privilege to play such a large part in helping to mould the way they are, and have a positive influence on their lives, and it’s great fun to see them developing and maturing. I can see a lot of changes in the three years that I have a child in my class. Developing a sense of humour, for example. My kids are wonderful. They all muck in and look after each other. They don’t seem to mind at all being on the losing side at sports. They are quite happy as long as they are bustling about and taking part – bless them.'
oil on board
H 119 x W 119 cm
on loan from the Royal Society of Portrait Painters