Monday was National Teaching Assistants’ Day so we thought we would celebrate all the hard working helpers in classrooms across Cheshire West and Chester.
We asked teachers, pupils, parents and friends to send in a photograph of their top teaching assistant.
Juliette Benton from Highfield Community Primary School in Blacon waxed lyrical about TA Valerie McFetridge in Year 6. She said: “Mrs McFetridge is a clever, fun and inspiring teaching assistant who can never give enough time and encouragement to all the pupils and staff she works with.
“She is passionate about her job and always makes time to talk with all children, making each and every one of them feel special. She willingly takes on more and more challenges - anything to make pupils achieve more. In the children’s words: ‘She’s the best!’”
Deborah Forrest from Overleigh St Mary’s was similarly enthusiastic about Amanda Price from class 1F.
Mrs Forrest said: “I believe Amanda deserves recognition like this because she is a wonderfully talented teaching assistant. Amanda always goes above and beyond in any task she does. She is fantastic with the children and she always manages to get them to do their very best. Her dedication and patience are exemplary. Amanda oozes creativity and enthusiasm which rubs off on the children, who all love her. I think I’m the luckiest teacher in school to be able to work with her!”
Donna Bridson, from The Queen’s Lower School, described TA Sarah Talbot from reception class as her ‘best friend’.
She said: “She has worked at the school for approximately 19 years. Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago and throughout her treatment she was determined to be in work as often as the doctors would allow her. She also completed the Race for Life with me just after finishing her treatment.
“She is a dedicated, hard working, valued member of staff who also runs the before and after school club.
Sarah is my son’s godmother and has always been there for me and my children.
“My third son Aiden was born 10 months ago with Down’s Syndrome. This was a huge shock and I wouldn't have been able to get through it without Sarah’s help and encouragement. She really deserves this recognition.”
A common theme seems to be that TAs are always prepared to go above and beyond duty.
Kerry Forrester from Tarporley CE Primary School said of Rachel Sims in Year 6.
She said: “Miss Sims is an asset to our school and carries out many roles above and beyond that of a teaching assistant and gives 100% at all times. She is manager of our before and after school club, chairman of the Beer festival committee, a member of the PTA and a governor.
She has also run a L6 maths club in her own time, a homework club and a knitting club , where the children have created a blanket for our link school in Uganda.
“She is also educational visits coordinator and attended four residential visits last year including the Year 6 London residential which included a visit to the Houses of Parliament.”
Alison Stevenson from Shocklach Oviatt CE Primary School claims that Francis Whitehurst has super powers!
She said: “Miss Whitehurst has worked with many children throughout the school and is always there to help. She has an ability to know what the teachers and children need before even they know!”
Pupils Rosie, Oliver and Aneira confirm she is special. Rosie said: “She looks after us in class when it is difficult.”
Oliver added: “She helps me learn and be a better person.” Aneira declared: “She is there when I need her.”
There was also more praise from pupils for Shocklach TAs Jo Haigh and Jenni Mills.
Belgrave Primary School teacher Jenny Bowle was unable to single anyone out for a special mention so sent in a photograph of all the teaching assistants with the note: ‘the lovely Belgrave TAs who support us so well.’
It is obvious that teaching assistants love their jobs as is clear from the smiles of those from Dee Banks in Boughton.
Hannah Rhodes, from Cambridge Road Community Primary and Nursery, thanked Hayley Wall Bank from Year 1: “For always going the extra mile without ever having to be asked!
“For bringing the best out in people; both staff and children – for having endless enthusiasm and being a constant source of inspiration and encouragement! I don't know what we'd do without you Hayley!”
Kath Carruthers, also from Cambridge Road Community Primary and Nursery, praised Alison Brady from Reception class.
She said: “Al is an asset to not only the Reception class but to the whole school. She is hard working, organised and has a fantastic relationship with both pupils and staff. She will do anything to benefit the children, she goes above and beyond. She will have a laugh and finds a positive in everything. Al is supportive to parents, pupils and colleagues. Basically we couldn't do without her.”
Sean Swartz said of his teaching assistant Kim Davis from Year 3/4 at Westminster Community Primary School: “Ms Davis is the best teaching assistant ever because she helps the class with all their work. She does things to help the class teacher too. Ms Davis is lots of fun and full of fantastic things to do when it is indoor play. She does wake up shake up with us to cool songs in the morning,” she said.