Educating the East End - Hazel Turner is a star in her school and a star on our screen

Hazel Turner starred in Channel 4’s Educating the East End –but more importantly a star in Frederick Bremer school and a star UNISON member.

Keeping children safe, and much more

Pupil behaviour and guidance mentor is her official title, but in reality she does all sorts. It is Hazel’s job to work with pupils who are out of class because of their behaviour; to keep them safe and allow them to let off steam; and to try and get to the root of the problem so she can get them back into class.

Always listening  

She walks the corridors with radio in hand, ready to respond to the call for her calming skills. One of the main issues pupils bring to her is not feeling listened to – not always easy when you’re in a class of 30 – but the pupils trust her, confide in her and feel listened to.

A new day, a new challenge

When asked about a typical day Hazel laughs: “I never know in advance what I’ll be doing, no two days are the same – I am never bored!”

And when asked to name the most challenging thing about her job, Hazel can’t think of a single thing. The same silence greets a question about what she finds frustrating. Instead she says: “I love my job. It is challenging, but the pupils do listen to me – and some even call me ‘mum’!”

The secret to success

Why is Hazel so successful in what she does? Well, perhaps it stems from the fact that she has raised five children of her own. Although they’re grown up now, she remembers what it was like for them when they were in their teens. Or perhaps it is because she herself didn’t like school and remembers what it was like not to feel heard: “I could really have done with someone in my sort of role when I was at school – to listen to me.”

Hazel has been in UNISON for years, believing it’s a good idea for school support staff to have the back-up of a union – like an insurance policy, just in case.

Hazel is lucky – she loves her job, she feels valued by senior staff and believes she has access to the training she needs – that’s what UNISON wants for all school support staff, but it’s not always the reality.

And the pay? She laughs again: “I can tell you – I wanted a big pay rise yesterday it was so busy! But if you didn’t love it you wouldn’t do it.”

A star in her school

So no plans to continue the acting career, Hazel? “NO! Although we forgot the cameras were there, I didn’t want to do it – I’m actually quite shy. But I wanted people to be proud of our school.”

We think they will be. And Hazel – we think you are definitely a Star In Our School!