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Ashmount School Teaching Assistant wins Silver Award in The Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year

Selected from thousands of nominations, Maria Gallagher is one of just 76 Silver Award winners across the country. Maria Gallagher was honoured with a Silver Award in The Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year for their outstanding commitment to changing the lives of the children they work with every day.


Maria was the first recipient of the school’s Outstanding Colleague award due to her skill and dedication to her role. Maria is involved in all aspects of school life, acting as Family Support Worker, Deputy Designated Senior Lead for Child Protection, Emotional Literacy Support Assistant and staff governor. She was the driving force behind Ashmount becoming a Forest School and is now training other staff in these skills to help even more students benefit.


Maria Gallagher is now in the running for one of just 14 Gold Awards later in the year, in a programme which will be broadcast on the BBC. This is a great opportunity to celebrate the exceptional school staff who have worked wonders during an incredibly challenging time for educators across the country.


The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of exceptional teachers, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with. This year marks its 22nd year of celebrating, award-winning teachers, teaching assistants, headteachers and lecturers across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.


Maria said: "I am thrilled to have won the award. Working with the staff, children and young people and their families at Ashmount has always been reward enough, but it is lovely to have my efforts recognised in this way."


Headteacher David Deacon said: "We are so pleased that Maria has been recognised for all of her hard work and dedication. Maria's efforts have made a huge difference to the lives of the children and young people and their families that she supports on a daily basis." 


Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s Laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said: 

“Over the past year, we have, all of us, come to appreciate and respect the value of teachers. They have so often been taken for granted. Not any more. Parents know now what it takes to teach, and teach well, and how much commitment, dedication and enthusiasm and knowledge and understanding, yes – and patience.


“Children know it too, if they didn’t before. So many missed their teachers as well as their friends. We all honour them today. Let’s now praise them, wish them well and above all, thank them.”


Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK, said:

“Congratulations to all of our Silver Award winners for their commitment, dedication and passion for their work. Despite the incredible challenges they have faced over the past few months, school staff have risen to the occasion time and again.


“It is so important to recognise and celebrate teachers, teaching assistants and lecturers for the impact they have on our young people every year, and that is why Pearson is delighted to support these Awards.”


Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“My warmest congratulations go to all this year’s silver award winners. They should be proud to receive this recognition of their commitment to the profession, and the outstanding education and guidance they provide for their students.


“Teachers and school staff up and down the country consistently go above and beyond for their students, and this is especially true over the past few months. It is down to their hard work that schools have been able to open their gates to all pupils again for the start of the new term, and I cannot say thank you enough for everything they have done.”