NEW for 2019 was the T&A Teaching Assistant of the Year award, a prize specifically to recognise the crucial contribution made in class by teaching assistants to provide the best education possible for every child.
The inaugural winners of the award were two special women from Parkside School, chosen as two representatives of the whole school for the incredible work they did to help one student make a remarkable recovery from serious illness.
In December 2017, 15-year-old Jess Dyer suffered a cardiac arrest which left her with a brain injury, meaning she had to learn how to walk, talk, read and write again.
After five months in hospital, in which she was regularly visited by teachers and friends, she made a phased return to school, and thanks to the amazing support from Anne-Marie Smedley, Jennifer Bailey and the rest of the team at Parkside she has made a fantastic recovery, and has now moved on to Craven College to continue her education.
Ms Smedley and Ms Bailey were nominated by Sue Dyer, Jess’ mother, to thank them and the rest of the school for their tireless work supporting Jess during an incredibly tough year.
Anne-Marie Smedley said: “This was totally a team effort.
“Everybody had a role to play in helping Jess on her road to recovery, and even now she is coming to Parkside to do work experience.”
Ms Bailey said: “It absolutely shows the importance of having a strong, cohesive team in school.
“You’re as strong as your weakest link.
“To go from being brain dead to doing GCSE maths is just amazing.”
Ms Smedley added: “The progress Jess has made is phenomenal, you can’t put it into words.
“Hospital bed to back to school, it is incredible.”