Holy Cross teaching assistant Sarah Wise has won the regional round of a prestigious award.
‘Copious amounts of patience and empathy’ have taken the higher-level teaching assistant through to the national awards ceremony which will be held in London next month.
There was stiff competition from hundreds of higher level teaching assistants but Mrs Wise was named Higher Level Teaching Assistant of the Year in the South East and presented with a trophy and certificate at a ceremony in Leatherhead last week.
Mrs Wise runs Holy Cross Primary School’s nurture and thrive programmes and spends her days working with, and helping the school’s most vulnerable children as well as students with additional needs.
She also teaches outdoor learning and is the school’s pastoral leader.
Mrs Wise often offers extra support after school and at lunchtime, including at a group held to help children cope with anxiety.
She said: “I’m delighted to have won this award but I haven’t won it on my own. It’s amazing to be rewarded for the work I do with children in school, but it’s incredible for Holy Cross to be recognised as the inclusive, hard-working caring school that it is.
“This award was won by the whole school.”
The teaching assistant was nominated for the award by headteacher, Mrs Cathy Dart, who told the awards panel: “Sarah has a unique sense of what individual children need and will fight hard to ensure that they have these needs met.
“She strongly believes that each child has their own unique gifts and that their academic, emotional, social and cultural needs should not be automatic barriers for them not achieving their dreams.
“Her support for our children goes above and beyond what is expected from a member of school staff.”
Mrs Dart added: “Sarah is very approachable and non-judgemental. She remains calm whatever the situation presents. She has had such a positive impact on so many children within Holy Cross, we feel very lucky to have her. I am incredibly proud of her winning this highly recognised award.”
The headteacher described Mrs Wise as a supportive colleague and amazing team player who is respected by all members of the school community.
The school’s inclusion leader, Mrs Debbie Rowland, said: “The children adore and trust Sarah, yet the staff value her expertise and all the extra effort she puts in. They also appreciate her level of professionalism, yet friendly and fun nature.
“We are all so proud of our Mrs Wise for winning this award. It is lovely to have her hard work, kindness and empathy recognised like this.
The award, now in its fourth year is organised by the Higher Level Teaching Assistant National Assessment Partnership, an organisation made up of the five regional assessment providers that work to manage and quality-assure the assessment of standards for higher-level teaching assistants across England.
Mrs Wise will now compete with eight other regional finalists at the National Awards ceremony at London’s Broadway House in November. All nine finalists will have a tour of the Houses of Parliament before the event. The winner will be presented with their award by a Member of Parliament.