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Portsmouth’s classroom heroes recognised for long service to education

A surprise award giving outside Portsmouth Guildhall recognised school and college staff who have worked for 20 years or more in the city.

The Teach Portsmouth Awards take place on Thursday 9 June at Portsmouth Guildhall showcasing the efforts of teachers, learning support assistants, teams and head teachers in 10 award categories. The long service award is the only category that is not shortlisted with all recipients receiving a trophy.

In total, 84 people have been recognised for their long service to education with 25 people attending the surprise gathering in Guildhall Square.

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

“Working in a school or college provides a rewarding career for many people supporting children and young people. Times change but the role of educating people continues with many people enjoying long careers in the city.

“The fact 84 colleagues have been recognised is a testament to their resilience and professionalism. Their dedication to the city’s families is incredible. I would like to thank you for all that you do – your efforts have not gone unnoticed.”

Jennifer Robinson, teacher at Ark Dickens Primary Academy

Jennifer Robinson, a teacher at Ark Dickens Primary Academy started her career as a 1-1 teaching assistant. In her supporting statement, her colleague said that her passion for educating pupils was obvious as soon as she set foot in the classroom. Jennifer said:

“When my colleague told me I had been put forward for the long service award it quickly became clear how far I have come in my career. I love my job and feel inspired every day. It can be challenging but I enjoy it. The rewards, when seeing each child grow in confidence, are a reminder of why I chose this career. I believe in encouraging children to take risks, use resilience, and to aspire to be their best, this has been my goal throughout my teaching journey so far.”

Erika Anders, assistant headteacher at Mayfield School

Erika Anders, assistant headteacher at Mayfield School knew teaching was for her after leaving university. She joined the school in July 2001 as a PE teacher. She progressed quickly from head of girls’ PE to her current role of assistant head teacher, overseeing special educational needs and safeguarding. Erika said:

“Since leaving university, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. It has been the driving force behind my career in education so far and continues to be a big part of my life, with my own children attending Mayfield School too!

“Being recognised for long service to education is a wonderful feeling. It shows you are appreciated for all your hard work and dedication.”

Mike Stoneman, deputy director for children, families and education said:

“The long service award celebrates everyone in the school and college community. From teachers to receptionists and head teachers to site managers, this award recognises their resilience and professionalism over two decades.

“It’s not often we pause for a moment and recognise their immense efforts over a sustained period. Their impact on the Portsmouth community is immeasurable. I hope this award goes someway to shining a light on their incredible work.”

The Teach Portsmouth Awards support the work of the Portsmouth Education Partnership by celebrating the achievements of school and college staff. In turn, this helps the city keep teaching talent local which ensures children and young people receive the best education possible.

While there is no overall winner in the long service award category, those in attendance at the award giving will be part of a special film to be screened at the Teach Portsmouth Awards in June.

The awards are sponsored by organisations including National Education Union, The University of Portsmouth, Caterlink, City of Portsmouth College, HSDC, Kier, Mountjoy, Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT), Gunwharf Quays and The News.

For more information on the Teach Portsmouth Awards, visit: teachportsmouth.co.uk/awards.

Teach Portsmouth Awards 2022 shortlist announced

Portsmouth teachers, learning support assistants, teams and head teachers have been shortlisted for the annual Teach Portsmouth Awards, which take place at Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday 9 June 2022.

In March, nominations opened for senior leaders in schools and colleges to recognise their staff. The people’s choice award also launched allowing members of the Portsmouth community to nominate their teaching heroes.

All nominations were reviewed by a panel of education professionals and those shortlisted will be invited to the Teach Portsmouth Awards, hosted by broadcaster and comedian, Shaparak Khorsandi. The winners of nine categories will be announced at the event and everyone put forward for the long service award will receive a trophy.

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

“With less than a month to go until the big day, we’re beginning our celebrations by announcing the shortlist for the Teach Portsmouth Awards. From newly qualified teachers to site managers, the awards recognise the efforts of every member of school and college staff.

“It’s important to remember that while these nominations were shortlisted, every entry reviewed by the shortlisting panel showed everyone going above and beyond to support children, young people and families in the city. I would like to thank everyone for their continued efforts to support our community in Portsmouth.”

Katie Holness, deputy head teacher at Admiral Lord Nelson School has been shortlisted in the outstanding contribution award category. Katie started her career as a newly qualified teacher in PE, progressing to become subject lead. She is now a deputy headteacher at the school. In her supporting statement, colleagues recognised her inclusivity work which has ensured no permanent exclusions at the school in over 15 years. Katie said:

“To be put forward by a colleague is a huge honour but to be recognised by a panel of experts is an incredible feeling. While my job is really challenging, it is hugely rewarding. I am proud of the work I have achieved at the school.”

Doug Richards, site manager at Meon Junior School has been shortlisted in the unsung hero award category. Doug has worked at the school for 21 years and works tirelessly to ensure the school is safe for pupils. Doug said:

“It is absolutely fantastic to be shortlisted for an unsung hero award, it’s an amazing feeling to be recognised by my colleagues and I am very humbled to be nominated for this award.”

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

“It’s fantastic to see another milestone reached as we near the Teach Portsmouth Awards. While individuals have been recognised as part of a shortlist, it is important to remember that everyone who was put forward for a nomination also deserve recognition for their work.

“The Teach Portsmouth Awards is one way we recognise school and college staff, encouraging the best teachers and education professionals to stay local. This ensures children and young people receive the best education possible from trained and qualified experts.”

The awards are sponsored by organisations including National Education Union, The University of Portsmouth, Caterlink, City of Portsmouth College, HSDC, Kier, Mountjoy, Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT), Gunwharf Quays and The News.

To view the shortlist, visit: teachportsmouth.co.uk/awards.

A day in the life of a Mental Health Support Team

Rose Ackland from Portsmouth CAMHS Mental Health Support Team shares her experience working as an Education Mental Health Practitioner:

“The Mental Health Support Team aim to offer support for children and young people who have an anxiety or low mood presentation. We are able to offer early intervention to prevent further mental health presentations and we are currently linked to the majority of schools in Portsmouth. We hold regular consultations with school staff to discuss any mental health concerns they may have regarding any of the children in their schools. For children under the age of 12, we offer parent led work either 1:1 or in a group setting where we meet weekly for six to eight weeks following the Cathy Creswell approach ‘Helping my Child with Fears and Worries’. These sessions are delivered by ‘Education Mental Health Practitioners’ like me.

For young people over the age of 12, we use low intensity cognitive behavioural therapy to support and provide techniques through self-help interventions such as: worry management, cognitive restructuring, graded exposure, and behavioural activation. We use a stepped care model to establish whether a child or young person needs to be stepped up to high intensity cognitive therapy, Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) or whether another service would be more beneficial. We are patient centred at all times and include young people and families in these decisions.

Through our school consultations we are able to offer a whole school approach by delivering workshops to parents, children and teaching staff. We have offered coffee mornings for parents to come and discuss any mental health concerns regarding their child, which have proven to be really useful in some schools. We have also started to deliver assemblies to help children to recognise their feelings and explore simple coping strategies to help them manage those feelings.

As part of my role, I have recently worked with a young person who was not able to enjoy the things they used to and would come home from school and hide away in their bedroom and not interact with their family or friends at all. They had a low mood presentation which started during the COVID-19 lockdowns. We saw each other every week for six weeks and worked through the behavioural activation treatment, which focuses on doing activities to feel better (working from the outside in). We were able to establish what the young person valued in their life and took small steps to plan activities into each week that would slowly build their confidence and raise their mood. By the end of our six weeks, they were able to walk their dog every day and hang out with friends more.

I know it sounds cheesy, but I really do feel like the luckiest person to do the job I do and work in a team that is all about helping young people. Mental health matters and is everyone’s business so I am thrilled to be part of spreading this message!”

You can find out more about the role of Mental Health Support Teams by visiting our dedicated webpage.

Information about the SEMH pathways to support available in Portsmouth can be found in our new guidance for professionals and families.

Ukraine: education resources and support

Resources

Update from the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service, April 2022

As you probably know, there are no new arrivals in the city from Ukraine at the moment. There were only a handful of families here before the Russian invasion, so it is unlikely that we’ll see many people arrive in the first ‘wave’.

However, as the government’s scheme to sponsor a Ukrainian family fleeing the war progresses, we will start to see more new arrivals. Portsmouth City Council as a whole is working hard to get preparations in place and there is funding from central government for councils for this plus an additional amount for schools (similar to that available for pupils arriving from Afghanistan in ‘Operation Warm Welcome’); the amount is still currently unspecified, I believe.

However, guidance was recently released to local authorities around the expectation of their role. This information has been reviewed and impacts upon different areas of the council identified. Currently the volume and rate of arrivals is still unclear although PCC hope to have more information about that in due course. The support needed for each sponsor/guest pairing is expected to be significant and wide ranging. The challenge is the pace of delivery. Once more information becomes available, and we get a picture of the scale and complexity of the work, more details can be provided.

We at EMAS are monitoring the situation carefully and are about to start the process of employing a Ukrainian BLA. There will necessarily be a delay for recruitment processes but, by waiting a little, there will be a larger pool of applicants from which to choose and we will also know the scale of the need. In the meantime, we have our existing Russian BLA, Olga Barker, who can support any Russian-speaking pupils and parents – although we will obviously be sensitive in her deployment. She is already doing important work with children across the city, several of whom have parents from both Ukraine and Russia and who are obviously finding the current situation especially challenging. There are over 100 Russian-speaking pupils in our schools but there are reports from neighbouring authorities that the numbers are rising, with families wanting to leave Russia.

In the city, there are also children whose families come from countries bordering either Ukraine or Russia itself and who may also be feeling particularly vulnerable, picking up on any stress that adults in their families might well be experiencing at the moment. We have almost 700 Polish-speaking pupils in Portsmouth, more than 400 Romanians, 100 Hungarian-speakers and over 150 other pupils from other neighbouring countries such as Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. The ongoing conflict will be especially ‘close’ for them.

EMAS are able to provide support and advice to subscribing schools. If you do not currently subscribe and would like to do so please visit the traded services website.

Call for Portsmouth to nominate their top teaching hero in local awards

Portsmouth’s teaching heroes will take centre stage at an awards ceremony for the profession at Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday 9 June, hosted by comedian and broadcaster, Shaparak Khorsandi.

Local residents whose children/young people attend school or college in the city are being asked to nominate a teacher, learning support assistant or head teacher in the people’s choice category.

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

“The Teach Portsmouth Awards are a great way to showcase the successes of Portsmouth’s school and college staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure children and young people receive the education they deserve throughout the pandemic.

“As we move forward, it is important to say thank you to our workforce who have overcome so many challenges over the last two years. The Teach Portsmouth Awards give us a chance to pause and recognise their immense efforts.”

In 2021, Teach Portsmouth introduced the people’s choice award to allow people who live in the city a chance to have their say. Local residents could nominate school or college staff who had gone above and beyond the call of duty to support their community.

Examples included head teachers delivering food parcels during lockdown and learning support assistants providing support before exams. Parents/carers shone a light on those inspirational stories by submitting a supporting statement online.

Ashley Howard, head teacher at Highbury Primary School, who won the people’s choice award last year said:

“When I discovered I had been nominated to win the people’s choice award I was blown away. To realise I won the award was even more of a shock.

“It was a huge privilege to be nominated by local people. Every person within education has gone above and beyond to support families in the city over the last two academic years. The fact that I have been recognised by parents and carers is an amazing feeling.”

The Teach Portsmouth Awards celebrates the achievements of teachers, learning support assistants, teams, and head teachers in 10 award categories.

This year sees the introduction of two new awards, ‘teaching assistant of the year’ and ‘new teacher of the year,’ in recognition for those at the very start of their careers.

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

“The Teach Portsmouth Awards is an event that celebrates success and allows us to showcase teaching excellence in the city.

“From teachers to caretakers, the event shines a light on all colleagues across primary, secondary and post-16 settings. It’s a real boost and shows that Portsmouth cares and rewards those who have excelled in their subject area.”

Nominations for the people’s choice award are now open. People who live in Portsmouth and their child/young person attends a school or college in the city, can now nominate a teacher, learning support assistant or head teacher online by completing a short form.

Visit www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/awards to tell us who deserves recognition for their work supporting children and young people in the city. Online submissions close on Monday 28 March.

Teach Portsmouth presents early years education

Portsmouth nursery workers inspire next generation with exciting careers

A virtual meet and greet was held with two nursery workers on Monday 17 January during Portsmouth Aspirations Week.

The webinar, called Teach Portsmouth presents early years education welcomed parents/carers, young people and professionals, showcasing the range of careers on offer in nurseries, supporting children aged up to four.

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education said:

“Aspirations Week is a great way to get people thinking about the careers they want. Early years education supports children who are just starting out, teaching them essential life skills that will benefit them for years to come.

“By inviting nursery workers to join the webinar, those watching were able to get a very real look at the rewards and challenges of the job. No career is without challenge but both individuals gave a reassuring account of what people can expect when they join the profession.”

Aspirations Week is a week-long initiative designed to help children, young people and adults learn new skills, achieve qualifications and progress in their career. This supports Portsmouth City Council’s commitment to life-long learning.

Like many professions, becoming a nursery practitioner requires patience, creativity, and care. These soft skills are essential to progress in the sector as you start from an apprentice and work your way up. Those who aspire for more can move into management or even own their own nursery.

Abbie Hendry, who is a nursery manager at Rainbow Corner Nursery shared her experience progressing from an apprentice into a more senior role.

Abbie said:

“Before joining a nursery, I was a hairdresser, but I wasn’t enjoying it. I would work every weekend and didn’t have enough time to see friends and family. A friend had recently joined a nursery and was doing really well. I decided to enrol at a local college on an apprenticeship. I quickly fell in love with the role, especially the interactions I would have between parents and their children.

“Over time, I wanted to move into a more senior position after completing my apprenticeship. I completed a qualification to help children with special educational needs. I’m now the nursery manager – it can be hard work but it is really rewarding.”

James Dyer, a qualified nursery practitioner, who co-owns a nursery, spoke about his background as a teacher in a primary school.

James said:

“For many years, I worked in youth and play services across the city. It was a job I loved but I began to think about a career in teaching. After I completed training, I became a primary school teacher. I really enjoyed the role but an opportunity to join my wife at Southsea Nature Nursery soon came up.

“There was some cross over with my teaching background, but I did have to update my training. I now co-own the nursery and absolutely love it. Outdoor learning for children is important and I’m honoured to be able to provide that service.”

Those who joined the webinar were able to submit questions which were answered during a live Q&A session. Webinar host, Mindy Butler, childcare and early years manager at Portsmouth City Council introduced each speaker and presented information on local training providers in the city.

Mindy said:

“The webinar gave us a chance to showcase what Portsmouth has to offer for unqualified and qualified individuals. From amazing apprenticeships that prepare you for work to a supportive community of nurseries who foster an environment where progression is possible. We hope those who joined us for the webinar found this an exciting start on the road to becoming a nursery practitioner.”

A recording of the webinar is now available to watch on the Teach Portsmouth website. Visit www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/webinar.

Teach Portsmouth work to recruit, retain and grow the best teachers and leaders for Portsmouth. It is part of the Portsmouth Education Partnership which is supported by Portsmouth City Council and education providers across the city.

SEND young people’s survey 2022 launched

Do you know a young person with SEND in Portsmouth?

Portsmouth City Council, in collaboration with Dynamite Portsmouth, have launched their annual survey which invites young people aged 14-25 with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) to share their feedback on the services and support available in the city. Your responses will be used to shape future services for young people and their families.

The SEND survey is open until until 4pm on Friday 25 March.

Visit the Portsmouth Local Offer website to find out more and complete the survey.

A day in the life of an ELSA

Kelly-Jayne Jones from Newbridge Junior School shares her experience working as an ELSA:

“Emotional Literacy Support Assistants, along with other support staff, provide a safe environment to offer children emotional support. Whether this be through 1:1 sessions on helping them take turns, play well with others, understanding their triggers or being part of a bereavement group. ELSA is done differently in school settings to suit the children’s needs.

In my school, I support children when they first get into school by welcoming them into the school building or checking in with them during the morning to make sure they are settled. I help them in their classroom to regulate their emotions so they are able to focus on their school work.

I have children for 1:1 sessions where together we think of strategies to help support them to prevent dysregulation and support them with steps they can take before they get to the coke bottle explosion!

I also run a service children group, where once a week, we all get together and talk about how they are feeling when loved ones are deployed. They all help each other when they are finding it hard by giving each other coping mechanisms and making each other laugh!

It is a very rewarding job and I love seeing the positive impact it has on the children.”

ELSAs are part of the school based support available to children and young people for their social, emotional and mental health (SEMH). You can find out more about the role of ELSAs on the Portsmouth SEND Local Offer website.

Information about the SEMH pathways to support available in Portsmouth can be found in our new guidance for professionals and families.

Teach Portsmouth presents early years education

Teach Portsmouth set to raise aspirations with early years webinar

An inspirational webinar series is set to return in the new year during Portsmouth Aspirations Week on Monday 17 January from 4pm – 5pm.

Teach Portsmouth presents early years education is a virtual information event for parents/carers, young people and professionals designed to showcase a range of careers in nurseries, supporting children aged 0 – 4 years old.

The webinar is part of Aspirations Week, a weeklong initiative designed to help children, young people and adults learn new skills, achieve qualifications and progress in their career.

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

“Teach Portsmouth’s webinar series is a great way to learn about careers in early years, primary, secondary and post-16 settings. The profession is alive with incredible opportunities and the pandemic has shone a light on the need to recruit qualified people to support children at the very start of their lives.

We need the right type of people to become nursery practitioners who understand the rewards and challenges of working with children. The webinar is the perfect introduction that will provide the information people need to kick start a career in early years education.”

Webinar host, Mindy Butler, childcare and early years manager at Portsmouth City Council will take people step by step through the process starting with training to becoming a qualified professional.

An apprentice, nursery practitioner and nursery manager will join Mindy and share their own experiences of working in the city.

Mindy said:

“I understand the huge rewards a career in early years can bring after setting up my own nurseries before joining Portsmouth City Council. The webinar is an amazing opportunity for those considering their next steps after school and interested in becoming a nursery practitioner. Those already working in the sector and want to progress into management will also find the webinar useful.

“Aspirations Week is a chance for us to celebrate the amazing work practitioners do but also a way for us to inspire others to consider joining the profession.”

The webinar will present nursery work as being more than just looking after children. Perceptions around the job will be challenged as well as showcasing the responsibilities an apprentice will have at the very start of their training.

To support those who are new to early years education, those who attend the webinar will be able to submit questions as part of a live Q&A session.

For more information on the webinar, visit www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/webinar or search ‘Teach Portsmouth’ online.

Teach Portsmouth work to recruit, retain and grow the best teachers and leaders for Portsmouth. It is part of the Portsmouth Education Partnership which is supported by Portsmouth City Council and education providers across the city.