Staff and pupils at Thornbury Primary Leadership Academy are celebrating after a member of staff was named Primary Teaching Assistant of the Year. Year 6 Learning Support Assistant, Punam Sharma, was awarded the accolade by Teaching Personnel as part of its national awards that celebrate the valuable contribution Teaching Assistants make to the education and support of school children across the UK.

Clare Daddy, Principal of Thornbury Primary Leadership Academy, nominated Punam for the award for her outstanding contribution to the school through consistent hard work, dedication and support to both pupils and teaching staff.

Mrs Daddy said: “Over the last few years Punam has really gone the extra mile to provide additional support for our children. She has run booster classes both before and after school and provided additional support and mentoring for the most vulnerable of pupils during lunchtimes.  Punam does everything with a smile on her face and a positive attitude! Her efforts have resulted in our children being in the top 1% for progress in the country and achieving excellent results.  We are delighted that Punam’s dedication has been recognised externally by winning Primary Teaching Assistant of the Year – the award couldn’t have gone to a better person!”

As well as receiving national recognition as an outstanding teaching assistant, Punam was awarded a number of prizes to support her personal and professional development. The prizes include a free course of her choice from New Skills Academy, a tablet computer and a book voucher.

Abigail Corrigan from Teaching Personnel presented the Primary Teaching Assistant of the Year award to Punam in an assembly in front of pupils and colleagues from Thornbury Primary Leadership Academy.

Abigail said: “It was my pleasure to be able to come and present the national teaching assistant of the year 2019 winner. I am delighted that Punam has won as she is clearly a highly valued member of staff who always goes above and beyond. She has supported some of the most vulnerable children both academically and pastorally. She was very humble and a truly deserving winner!”