A teaching assistant from Stamford is in the running for a top national award after being named best in the region.
Sue Brown, 49, was revealed to be the winner of the East Midlands Outstanding Higher Level Teaching Assistant 2016 title at a ceremony in Leicester two weeks ago.
The award was presented in recognition of her achievements in the classroom at Malcolm Sargent Primary School, in Empingham Road, Stamford.
Sue began working at the school 12 years ago as a teaching assistant after previously volunteering her time to help out while her two children , now aged 17 and 19, were pupils there.
Four years later, she spent 12 months training to become a higher level teaching assistant (HLTA).
Unlike normal teaching assistants, HLTAs can teach classes alone without the need for other staff to be present and they also take on more responsibility around the school.
Sue said she was shocked and delighted to be named best HLTA in the East Midlands. She said: “I went along to the awards ceremony with no expectation that I would win. When my name was called out I couldn’t believe it.
“It’s a real honour and I feel very proud. When I went to work on the Friday, staff had put posters up revealing the news and everyone was so happy for me.
“I love being a HLTA. Rather than working with the same class everyday as I did when I was a teaching assistant, I get to work across the school, leading lessons and covering for teachers when they are away. I have more responsibility and find it extremely rewarding.”
Malcolm Sargent currently has six HLTAs.
The awards ceremony was organised by the University of Northampton’s School of Education, which runs training courses for HLTAs.
After scooping the regional title, Sue is now in the running for National HLTA of the Year Award.
Wendy Yarnall, senior lecturer in education at the University of Northampton said: “The panel was most impressed by the standard of work and commitment evidenced in the nominations which were made by senior colleagues at their schools and we commend all the finalists.
“It is clear that HLTAs are highly regarded members of staff and play a key role within their school community which impacts directly on the learning and life chances of the pupils they work with.
“Sue will now go on to represent the East Midlands region at the National HLTA of the Year Award, which will be presented in London in November 2016.”