A Hartlepool primary school and UNISON have joined forces to recognise the fantastic work undertaken by school support staff.
‘Stars in our Schools’ is an annual UK-wide celebration, co-ordinated by UNISON, to acknowledge the invaluable contribution by the likes of catering and admin staff, cleaners, family support advisors and ICT technicians.
The celebratory event took place at Brougham Primary School today (23 November). School leaders praised the support staff whilst pupils showed their appreciation by making a short film which was seen for the first time.
Support staff also received a certificate and a goodie bag from UNISON’s Dawn Nicholson as she thanked everyone for their dedication and hard work.
Brougham is one of eight primary schools across Teesside under the umbrella of Ad Astra Academy Trust.
Chris Simmons, Chair of Ad Astra Academy Trust Board, said, “Our teaching staff and school leaders do an amazing job across all of our schools, but we also have a wide range of support staff who are equally valued for the roles they play to help children learn, keep safe and healthy and make sure our schools run efficiently and smoothly.
“We’ve supported this initiative for a number of years, and we are delighted to team up with UNISON once again to celebrate the work of the unsung heroes in our schools.”
Support staff Hayley Barclay and Michelle Allison, who are both higher level teaching assistants and former pupils of the school said the event was lovely surprise.
Hayley Barclay said: “It’s lovely to be appreciated and the event was a really nice surprise. We are told every day that we are appreciated but seeing the children saying lovely things about us and watching the video was wonderful.”
Michelle Allison commented: “The event was fantastic. It makes the tough, stressful days more rewarding and worthwhile, and it was lovely to hear from the children about the impact that we have on them and that we really make a difference.”
Andy Brown OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Ad Astra Academy Trust, commented: “As a Trust we are so lucky to have such talented and dedicated staff and on a daily basis I am humbled and amazed at the commitment, care and drive to ensure our children get the best education possible.
“The Covid pandemic really highlighted just how important support staff are to keeping schools up and running, providing vital support to children and families, and helping pupils progress in their learning.
“Support staff were on site during lockdown periods making sure the buildings were deep cleaned, arranging IT for online learning and supporting the children of key workers. The contribution support staff make cannot be under-estimated.”
Dawn Nicholson, UNISON’s Area Organiser, said: “UNISON is really pleased once again to work in partnership with Ad Astra Academy Trust. School support staff are so often hidden behind the scenes, but they are vital to the education of young people. Their roles are incredibly diverse, from cooks, cleaners and family support advisers to teaching assistants, admin staff and school business professionals.
“They all play a vital role in every aspect of school life and without them schools simply could not function. This annual UK-wide celebration is a great opportunity for pupils, parents and teachers to promote the work of their support staff and thank them for their outstanding contribution.”
Sarah Greenan, Headteacher at Brougham Primary School, commented: “The event provided an opportunity to highlight the contributions made by this fantastic group of employees.
“We recently asked our children to reflect on the support they receive at school, and it really brought a tear to the eye. I was left in no doubt that the work of employees at Brougham, goes well beyond, a child’s desk.”
Ad Astra Academy Trust was formed in 2015 and over the last seven years has grown across the Tees Valley, providing education for over 3,000 pupils and 500 employees in Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool.
The other primary schools within Ad Astra Academy Trust are Barnard Grove, West Park and West View in Hartlepool, Crooksbarn and Rosebrook in Stockton-on-Tees and Ayresome and Sunnyside in Middlesbrough.