There’s more to being a teaching assistant than just providing essential help in the classroom - as shown by Joanne Todd from Rotherham’s Swinton Fitzwilliam Primary School.
The parents who nominated her say she is ‘a constant source of support, whether it is academic, social or personal’, and is someone who enriches the lives of pupils, staff and parents.
In the classroom Joanne supports children who need help through intervention programmes - many of whom go on to make outstanding academic progress.
Families in the community also appreciate that Joanne is always ready to help in times of need.
Earlier this year she was able to support pupils who had suffered bereavements in their families, offering solace, guidance and a way back into the normal routines of a school day.
“She is in effect the Swinton shoulder to lean on,” the awards ceremony heard.
Joanne, who has been at Swinton Fitzwilliam working with the Year 2s for nine years, said she was lucky to be with a fantastic team of colleagues and in a school full of lovely children with great parents.
“I don’t feel I do any more than any other teaching assistant at the school - they all deserve recognition,” she said.
“The job is about being there for the children and taking care of anything that arises from day to day, including those pupils who have special educational needs.”
Joanne said she had been on a bereavement course, a qualification she had chosen to take on, which had helped her support children who had suffered tragedies at home.
“Two of our youngsters had lost their dad, while another little girl lost her mum suddenly.
“In the first case I kept close contact with the family, and when the children came back to school I made sure I saw them twice a day. It’s not something you have to think about, it’s second nature,” Joanne added.
Highly commended in the same category was Emma Pasley, a TA from Ballifield Primary School in Handsworth.
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