Catherine Holloway and Phil Harris-Bridge

Portsmouth’s classroom heroes shortlisted in education awards

Portsmouth parents and carers will have the chance to recognise the work of early years education staff and school governors for the first time.

The popular Teach Portsmouth Awards for staff in schools and colleges returns for 2023 with brand new categories for early years professionals and governors.

The new awards sit alongside a host of existing categories recognising the contribution of education professionals who have gone above and beyond for children and young people in nurseries, schools and colleges.

All nominations are reviewed by a panel of education professionals. Those shortlisted will be invited to the Teach Portsmouth Awards ceremony, hosted by Lucy Ambache, radio presenter and broadcaster at Nation Radio.

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“The Teach Portsmouth Awards is one of my favourite events of the year as it gives us a chance to celebrate the incredible efforts of teachers, support teams and head teachers across the city.

“The last couple of years have been tough in education. The cost of living continues to impact our families and schools and colleges continue to step up to support them in so many ways. Everyone in education has played a key role in helping our community and deserve recognition for their work. I would like to thank every single person for their efforts to support those who need it most.”

Catherine Holloway, who is a manager at Manor Infant School and Nursery has been shortlisted in the early years and childcare award category.

She has worked there for several years and was nominated by parents and carers for the support she gives children. In particular, going above and beyond to ensure children could still attend nursery when the site’s heating system failed.

Catherine said:

“When I found out I was put forward for an award, I was shocked. No one has ever done that for me before – it was such a lovely gesture. To then find out I’ve been shortlisted is incredible. It’s really nice being recognised. I love my job – it is challenging but super rewarding.”

Governors have also been highlighted in this year’s shortlist for the first time. This voluntary position sees people give up their own time, to support schools and colleges and their leadership teams by sharing their own experiences to improve outcomes for pupils.

Phil Harris-Bridge who is chair of governors at Castle View Academy has worked at the school for the last five years. He has been shortlisted for the governor’s award in recognition for his work which was highlighted in a recent Ofsted inspection.

Phil said:

“It’s an amazing feeling being recognised for what you do. If you have the time to volunteer, becoming a govenor is so worthwhile. You can use your own life experiences to help schools and their students.”

The winners will be announced at the Teach Portsmouth Awards on Thursday 29 June at Portsmouth Guildhall. To view the shortlist, visit: teachportsmouth.co.uk/awards

Natalie Sheppard, Cllr Suzy Horton and Mike Stoneman

City leaders hail education recruitment event a success

A recruitment event designed to showcase job and training opportunities within schools and colleges has been hailed a success by city leaders. More than 200 people from across the city were welcomed through the doors of Portsmouth Guildhall on Monday 22 May 2023.

Teach Portsmouth, a Portsmouth City Council service which promotes teacher training and job opportunities in education, held a recruitment fair which brought together schools, colleges, training providers and charities to showcase a range of vacancies.

Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“Schools and colleges need the right professionals to support children and young people in and out of the classroom. When the right support is given, it enables them to focus on their education, increasing their aspirations and employment prospects in later life.

“The event was a good opportunity for people to learn about their options in a school or college by showcasing the breadth of opportunities available in Portsmouth, all under one roof For those who came, I hope the fair acted as a source of inspiration and a springboard to a new career.”

Those who attended were able to watch short presentations and ask questions inside the Opportunities Room. Topics included: how to become a teaching assistant, apprenticeships in schools, flexible employment and more.

The Thinking Schools Academy Trust, the main sponsor of the event, promoted a range of opportunities, including support and central service vacancies at their schools and academies across the city.

Natalie Sheppard, director of education at Thinking Schools Academy Trust said:

“It was fantastic to be among partners at the event that shared a vision on making Portsmouth a city where people want to live, learn and work. Working in a school is hugely rewarding, as you help to inspire the next generation to excel in their learning.

“I spoke with a number of attendees and learned about their interests and how we can assist them in finding employment.  Over sixty individuals have signed up for our taster sessions at our academies in Portsmouth, and I am confident that these events will produce many more success stories.”

Teach Portsmouth launched their taster sessions at the event after a successful trial recruited two people for local schools. Five multi-academy trusts and schools signed up to the scheme.

Taster sessions normally last no more than a few hours with each school supervising those who attend. The visit is restricted to meeting staff only with the opportunity to attend a short presentation about working at the school. There is no direct contact with pupils during the session.

Anyone interested in working in education, but who missed the event, can subscribe to the Teach Portsmouth newsletter.

Portsmouth’s ‘golden opportunity’ to support pupils in city’s schools and colleges

A series of jobs, training and volunteering opportunities will take centre stage at Portsmouth Guildhall in a bid to boost employment in the city.

Teach Portsmouth, a Portsmouth City Council initiative to recruit the best professionals for the city’s schools and academies will welcome people to The Teach Portsmouth Jobs and Opportunities Fair on Monday 22 May 2023 from 10am – 2pm.

Located on the first floor, the event will provide people with a range of ‘opportunities’ tailored to their needs. Exhibitors will include local schools, colleges and academies who will promote non-teaching vacancies as well as training providers offering information on apprenticeships and short courses. Visit the Teach Portsmouth website to explore the full list of exhibitors.

Mike Stoneman, deputy director for children, families and education at Portsmouth City Council said:

Mike Stoneman

“Teach Portsmouth has enjoyed early success with their information events to encourage more people to become teaching assistants. We know there is a need to promote other roles within schools and colleges to ensure communities have the people they need.

“This new event will showcase a wide variety of non-teaching jobs across education. Whether that’s supporting pupils in the classroom or managing the front desk at a school, everyone plays a vital part in the learning and development of children and young people.”

Since launching the ‘become a teaching assistant’ events in July 2022, the council has supported employment and training opportunities. This has resulted in 20 people starting English and maths functional skills courses (equivalent to a GCSE qualification) and three people who have started an apprenticeship or a job in a school.

To further extend interest in these roles, a new taster morning scheme was trialled at a recent event with an academy and school. Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT) took part in the trial, resulting in five applications for teaching assistant vacancies and one person being placed as a volunteer.

This partnership will continue with TSAT becoming an official sponsor of the Teach Portsmouth Jobs and Opportunities Fair.

Stuart Gardener, CEO at the Thinking Schools Academy Trust said:

Stuart Gardener“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Teach Portsmouth on the Jobs and Opportunities Fair. We feel it’s a fantastic way to shine a light on the many exciting and rewarding opportunities within the education sector.

“We acknowledge the challenges that schools face when recruiting, but by collaborating with partners, we can attract those who want to start their careers in education sooner. We are excited to meet new people and inspire them to explore opportunities with us.”

Those who attend the fair can also visit the Opportunities Room, a space where presentations take place throughout the day. There will be information on apprenticeships and short courses, how to become a teaching assistant, working in a school if you are an international student and flexible jobs in education.

The event is free to attend but will require people to register for a ticket before arriving. An event ticket gets you entry into the venue and all presentations throughout the day.

Find out more
Teacher sitting at a table with two students

Call to Portsmouth to support their schools at event

People in Portsmouth who are interested in becoming teaching assistants are invited to attend an information event on Tuesday 28 February 2023 from 10am to 2pm at Central Library (third floor).

Teach Portsmouth, a Portsmouth City Council initiative to train and recruit the best professionals for the city’s schools is holding an information event for those interested in supporting pupils in the classroom.

Vacancies within the sector remain unfilled due to pressures over COVID and staff taking early retirement. Over 100 people have attended two previous events with many going on to start apprenticeships with local training providers in schools or apply for jobs directly.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“At the start of the year, we set out our aspirations for the city which focused on its recovery from COVID. We understood the importance of training and education and the power of upskilling people.

“There are many opportunities in Portsmouth to try something different or start a career in a sector you love. If you want to become a teacher or want to support pupils in the classroom, becoming a teaching assistant is a fantastic place to begin.”

The information event is a first step towards finding out more about the profession and the careers it can offer. The Learning Place and the City of Portsmouth College will provide information on apprenticeships and short courses in education.

The Wymering School, Thinking Schools Academy Trust and Trafalgar School will be promoting their learning support vacancies too.

Mike Stoneman, deputy director for children and education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“Supporting pupils is a rewarding experience. It is a varied role that could see you working in a group or on a one-to-one basis.

“It is important to note that working as a teaching assistant isn’t just a steppingstone into teaching, it is a career in its own right. People can progress onto more specialist or senior roles, if they want to.”

Those interested can book on to one of two sessions at the event. Short presentations from teaching assistants will introduce attendees to the topic with a question-and-answer session held at the end. After the presentations, attendees can speak to exhibitors and learn more about becoming a teaching assistant in Portsmouth.

Book your free ticket
Teach Portsmouth Awards 2023 logo

Webinar: Get top tips on how to write the perfect nomination

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our webinar on how to write a great nomination for the Teach Portsmouth Awards 2023, hosted by Frances Soul, independent chair of the Portsmouth Education Partnership. Frances was joined by Davina Wise, deputy head teacher and Lukasz Plaza, winner of the new teacher of the year award who shared why Admiral Lord Nelson School nominate their staff.

Nominations now open!

Nominations for the Teach Portsmouth Awards 2023 are now open and will close on Friday 10 March 2023.

To submit your nominations, visit www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/nominate.

Full descriptions and criteria for each of this year’s award categories can be found at www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/awards.

Watch a recording of the webinar

  • Are you co-ordinating your school/college’s submission for this year’s Teach Portsmouth Awards?
  • Are you new to the awards and need some pointers on what the shortlisting panel look for?

To help you write your awards submission, Teach Portsmouth organised a special webinar, hosted by Frances Soul, independent chair of the Portsmouth Education Partnership and chair of last year’s shortlisting panel for the Teach Portsmouth Awards.

Frances has previously sat on the panel for the Pearson’s Teaching Awards and is best placed to help those co-ordinating nominations in their school or college.

Davina Wise, deputy head teacher and Lukasz Plaza, winner of the new teacher of the year award join Frances as they explain why Admiral Lord Nelson School nominate their staff.

Need some inspiration? Read some of last year’s winning nominations:

Teaching assistant of the year award
Debbie has dedicated over 20 years of her career to supporting young people with special educational needs. She is 100% focused on securing the best outcomes for young people, be it academic qualifications or helping them handle themselves in social situations. In the last 4 years, Debbie has worked tirelessly with young down syndrome students – ensuring that they can access a full curriculum and become part of school life. This includes trips and extracurricular activities. Debbie is also very thoughtful about the wellbeing of others.

Innovation in teaching award
The team have begun a reading revolution at the school. The pandemic led to significant gaps in reading ability for our year 7s and year 8s, which could limit their life chances if they are not closed. The team designed a curriculum based around reading for year 7. They have innovated by using technology to “level the playing field” in terms of access. They have embedded the use of immersive readers and other accessibility tools. They have also embedded a reading culture with a home learning program that utilises the Microsoft Reading Progress app. As a result of their drive, the school has seen an average increase in progress score of +5 months between September and February.

Community and collaboration award
The curriculum team have organised ‘kindness week’ with a focus on the local community and strengthening relationships with them. The school also wanted to use it as an opportunity to say thank you to everyone in the community. During this time, their relationship with Southsea Fire Station has blossomed. The team have helped with the school’s work on fire safety. At Easter, the fire station visited the school to give a workshop with each child receiving an Easter egg. For Remembrance Day, the fire station team came and hung a wall of poppies on the school. For ambitions week, they gave up their time to talk about their role in the hope of inspiring pupils to become firefighters in the future. The school is proud of their work with Southsea Fire Station.

Left to right - Cllr Suzy Horton, Emily Farrugia, Cheryl Head

Portsmouth training providers lead the way in supporting city schools

A call to support Portsmouth’s classrooms was answered as a group of training providers and school staff joined forces to encourage people to become a teaching assistant at an event on Tuesday 1 November.

Teach Portsmouth, a Portsmouth City Council initiative, invited experts from the City of Portsmouth College and The Learning Place to discuss careers in the classroom. Apprenticeships, training courses and volunteering opportunities were part of the conversation in the hopes of inspiring attendees to support children and young people.

The pandemic has meant more people have chosen to leave the sector due to a change in circumstances or taking early retirement. A new generation of support staff are required to help pupils reach their potential.

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“When you choose to support children and young people, you will be changing their lives and supporting their education in unique ways.  The role is rewarding but challenging. We are looking for the right people who are resilient and have patience to persevere.

“This event was a great way for people to speak directly with teaching assistants who offered a realistic picture from inside the classroom.”

97 people attended the event across two sessions where short presentations and a question and answer session provided a source of inspiration for those wanting to become a teaching assistant.

Schools in the city require individuals to be qualified up to level 2 in English and maths. If people do not have those qualifications, adult education providers, City of Portsmouth College and The Learning Place can help.

Cheryl Head, programme lead for apprenticeships and community learning at Portsmouth City Council said:

“It was fantastic to see so many people engaged in becoming a teaching assistant and wanting to make a real difference to the lives of children and young people in schools across the city.

“If you’ve had time away from work, looking to change careers or trying to find a role that offers more flexibility, an apprenticeship is a good option that enables you to earn while you learn.”

Those in attendance were able to view learning support vacancies on the jobs board as well as speak to Trafalgar School who promoted specific roles.

The next information event will take place on Tuesday 28 February 2023 at Central Library from 10am. For more information, visit teachportsmouth.co.uk/TA.

Call for Portsmouth to support their schools at special event

A rallying cry to encourage more people to become classroom assistants in primary, secondary and special schools in the city has been launched by Portsmouth City Council, who are holding an information event at Portsmouth Central Library on Tuesday 1 November 2022 from 10am – 1pm.

Teach Portsmouth, a Portsmouth City Council initiative to train and recruit the best professionals for the city’s schools, is organising the event for people to learn more about careers in the classroom at a time when many vacancies remain unfilled.

Many of the vacancies are a result of people retiring from the profession or a lack of awareness about the type of roles available.

Cllr Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“Despite a successful trial event in July, the demand for classroom assistants continues to increase. This is the perfect opportunity to discover how you can progress a career in the classroom.

“Whether that’s wanting a role that’s flexible around the school day or you want to progress into teaching, this event gives those in attendance a realistic picture of the careers available and how they can shape a child’s life.”

A trial event held in July saw over 50 people attend with many saying conversations with classroom assistants were a source of inspiration. Those in attendance were able to speak to training providers and browse job vacancies.

Mike Stoneman, deputy director for children’s services and education at Portsmouth City Council, said:

“The need to recruit and retain classroom teaching assistants to support children and young people has not gone away. It’s important we hire the right person for the role. While it is incredibly rewarding, working with pupils can be challenging.

“The role needs someone who is compassionate but also resilient. No day is ever the same and you will get a sense of the impact you are having straight away. Teachers will work alongside you to best identify the support pupils need to fulfil their potential.”

While not always a requirement to start a career supporting pupils, many schools in Portsmouth will require individuals to have a level 2 qualification in English and maths. Adult education providers, The Learning Place and City of Portsmouth College, will be on hand to talk about training and apprenticeships.

The information event is open to anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a teaching assistant. People are encouraged to choose one of two sessions held on Tuesday 1 November 2022. The first (10am – 11.30am) and the second (11:30am to 1pm) are located on the third floor of Portsmouth Central Library.

To find out more about the event and to register for free tickets, visit www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/TA or search Teach Portsmouth.

Free online tool helps people find teacher training courses in Portsmouth

An online tool designed to help people locate teacher training courses in Portsmouth has been updated in time for applications opening nationally.

Teach Portsmouth, a Portsmouth City Council initiative to recruit the best teachers, leaders and support staff for the city’s schools and academies has worked with local training providers to ensure those interested in becoming teachers have the information they need to stay local.

While there are plenty of opportunities to begin a career in teaching, the first challenge is often locating the best route into the profession.

With applications opening nationally for teacher training on Tuesday 11 October, Teach Portsmouth’s online tool helps people locate training courses in the city.

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“Becoming a teacher is a life changing experience that supports children and young people to become the best versions of themselves. This online tool helps those wanting to make a difference in the classroom by listing teacher training providers in the city.

“This helps us keep the best teaching talent local by presenting information in an easy-to-understand way. Teach Portsmouth is a fantastic local service that can support those at the very start of their journey into training and beyond.”

The Teach Portsmouth website offers a range of training and teaching resources to help people, regardless of their backgrounds, understand their options. The training section takes people through the 3 main routes of teaching, explaining 8 qualification routes to consider as well as details on training providers.

Those who complete the online tool will be presented with a list of course providers. This information includes where the training is held (either in a school, in a university or a combination of both), age group, subject and funding.

Mike Stoneman, deputy director for children and families at Portsmouth City Council said:

“It is really important for us as a city to recruit and retain the best professionals for the city’s schools and academies. Teach Portsmouth’s online tool helps people navigate their options in a simple and intuitive way.

“We know it’s essential people have the information they need to be able to make an informed decision. Alongside the tool, the website provides a range of resources as well as contact information to speak to the team directly.”

The online tool has been updated to include course information for the academic year 2023 – 2024.

People can visit www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/training or search Teach Portsmouth online. The service also offers an information line where you can speak to a member of the team. Call 023 9268 8088 (9:30am – 2:30pm) between Monday and Friday for advice on teacher training.

Education investment top of agenda at PEP strategic conference

A conference for senior leaders in schools will celebrate Portsmouth becoming a priority education investment area on Wednesday 5 October 2022 from 9am – 1pm at the Village Hotel.

The Portsmouth Education Partnership strategic conference invites education professionals to reflect on the previous academic year and to look ahead and learn more about the big plans we have to address the key issues that are affecting education in Portsmouth. Those who attend are encouraged to contribute during discussions and watch presentations from local and regional experts to help shape the partnership’s work moving forwards.

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“It’s fantastic to be back together again to celebrate last year’s successes but also look ahead to the future. Portsmouth is the only city in the south to be selected as a new priority education investment area. This will mean much needed investment for the city and the opportunity to really build on what we have achieved so far as a partnership and to go further and make that step change that will see a significant improvement in outcomes for children and young people.

“I can’t wait to meet the school leaders from across the partnership as we work collaboratively to support children, young people and families in the city.”

Portsmouth has been selected as one of 24 priority education investment areas (PEIA) by the Department for Education. Delegates at the conference will join the conversation and help shape how we can benefit from some of the £42 million that will be allocated across the 24 priority areas over the next three years.

Mike Stoneman, deputy director of children’s services and education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“The news that Portsmouth has been designated as a priority education investment area is an important step for us which has the potential to help further improve education outcomes for the city’s children and young people. Our aim is to draw upon the expertise of local partners and stakeholders to shape how we allocate the funding.

“We are still at the initial stages and hope senior leaders will join our efforts to maximise this opportunity at the conference.”

Alongside presentations on the PEIA, colleagues will also learn about how partners are working hard to improve literacy outcomes, attendance and reducing suspensions as well as information on digital learning, school leadership and effectiveness. We will also be welcoming Ofsted who will do an update on changes to the Ofsted handbook and what to expect in 2022/23.

A networking lunch from 1pm – 2pm will offer colleagues a chance to discuss agenda items and reflect on the day’s event.

Be quick! Get your tickets now

If you are a senior MAT lead or school leader who would like to attend the conference, tickets are now available on Eventbrite.

Get tickets

Portsmouth school staff showcase support roles at information event

An urgent call for Portsmouth to support their classrooms was answered as 50 people from across the city joined a group of school staff at an information event at Central Library on Tuesday 5 July.

Teach Portsmouth, a Portsmouth City Council initiative designed to recruit the best teachers, head teachers and learning support staff invited experts from the sector to talk about becoming a teaching assistant.

Working in a school is a rewarding experience for many. While there are challenges in supporting Portsmouth’s classrooms, those who work in support roles cite the flexibility of school life as their reasons for joining the workforce.

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council said:

“Becoming a teaching assistant requires patience and perseverance. The rewards are huge but there are also challenges. While the impact an individual can make on a child’s life is transformational, it is important the right person is recruited.

“The event is a great starting point for those who are unsure about joining the sector. Those who attended now have the certainty they need to decide whether the profession is for them. We hope those who attended will go on to support children and young people in Portsmouth.”

Becoming a teaching assistant will require individuals to be qualified up to level 2 in English and maths. If people do not have those qualifications, adult education provider, The Learning Place can support those to complete them.

Cheryl Head, programme lead for apprenticeships and community learning at Portsmouth City Council said:

“Supporting pupils in Portsmouth’s schools is a unique and rewarding experience for those wanting to progress in education.

“If you’ve had time away from work, looking to change careers or trying to find a role that offers more flexibility, an apprenticeship is a good option that enables you to earn while you learn.”

Those in attendance were able to ask questions to a panel of local experts and learn more about vacancies during the event.

To learn more about becoming a teaching assistant in Portsmouth, visit www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/supporting.