TA of the Year Competition

Our annual competition is the cherry on the top of National Teaching Assistants’ Day. Take a look at the winning TAs of the Year from primary schools, secondary schools and special schools.

#NationalTADay

2021 TA of the Year Winners

Tara Lee Oliver

Primary TA of the Year

Read more about Tara →

Sarah Crisp

Secondary TA of the Year

Read more about Sarah →

Julie Cartwright

SEN TA of the Year

Read more about Julia →

Tara Lee Oliver

Primary TA of the Year

Caroline Epps says: “Where do I start? This requires a list. Tara is incredibly organised, and very probably super human: Tara is particularly intuitive.

She notices when children need certain things and she shows real initiative in sorting out problems so that teachers don’t have to worry about things. She has a supply of clean uniform that belonged to her children, which she lends to pupils who have forgotten items, or who need to change.

She takes home work most nights to make sure that displays and scanned items are ready to be put up or used as soon as possible. When teachers need help or duties covering, she is always there to pick up the pieces. At Christmas she gets in extra early to sort out the elf on the shelf shenanigans in each classroom, having bought all of the equipment herself. During lockdown, she gave unbelievable support to the key worker children in school, making sure that they were supported in their work and nurtured emotionally.

She provided hot chocolate and snacks as treats for the children out of her own pocket. She also did special breakfasts once a week for staff in school. Teachers delivering live lessons from home received treats from Tara, which she delivered. She knew how hard it was for everyone, and no one asked her to do any of this.

When my father died this summer (after 6 1/2 years of looking after him) Tara knew that I would be too preoccupied to sort out my new classroom. She organised for two of my teacher friends to go into school with her at the end of the holidays to set up as much of my room as they could. I am incredibly grateful. Tara notices when pupils or teachers need extra care and support. She has a seriously tough medical condition that she lives with, yet she always puts others first. She is in an incredibly kind, selfless and talented woman who is loved by pupils and staff alike.”

Sarah Crisp

Secondary TA of the Year

Sherryl Bareham says: Sarah Crisp was employed by the Academy as a TA (HLTA) to support SEND students including 3 EHCP students, who were not secondary school ready. The 3 EHCP students had been refused admission into local special schools due to lack of placement.

Sara started what is now known and called The Nest which is a modified version of the Nurture model by developing it into full operation. Due to Sarahs hard work, commitment and passion for the well being of students, she was able to develop this access provision to a high standard. Sarah has also supported these students who have now made good progress in their pastoral and academic aspects of their education. Throughout the year Sarah had run social and emotional skills sessions for targeted students before school, break time and lunch times. This meant that she had forfeited most of her break and lunch times to help these vulnerable students.

Sarah has gone beyond her normal call of duty and had represented the Academy on several multi-agency panels and meetings to deliberate on the welfare of students with EHCP.

Sarah has also helped run summer school programmes to quicken the transition plans for Yr. 6s. The Dorcan Academy is proud to have such an amazing TA 

Julie Cartwright

SEN TA of the Year

Joanna Smith says: Despite only knowing Julie for less that one year, it is clear to me that she ‘goes the extra mile’ for all of our students in the Designated Provision every day. Julie knows each individual student, their needs, their likes and dislikes, their families, their pets, how they work well, things that upset them and even what they have for lunch every day.

I will often receive emails from Julie in the evening to remind me that a student needs something tomorrow, or has to go somewhere. Julie dedicates all of her spare and break times in school to the students, and also to ensuring that I am given the support that I need as their new classroom teacher. 

How to get involved

Reacognise your Teaching Assistant

1. Recognise

Think about the work that TAs do in your school

2. Nominate

Submit your superstar TA to our TA of the Year competition

How are winners announced?

3. Celebrate

Get the party started on 16 September

TA of the Year Winners

Meet some of our TA heroes from previous years

Our 2020 Winners

Julia Sullivan

Julia Sullivan

Secondary TA of the Year

Julia is able to switch from supporting year 7 students with moderate learning difficulties to year 11 students with high functioning autism with ease and always knows the right thing to say. She really ‘gets’ the students and understands how to balance their needs as teenagers – not wanting to appear different – with their need for support.
Ragini Patel

Ragini Patel

Primary TA of the Year

Not only does Ragini have such a profound and positive impact to children’s lives here at Tudor Primary school, she is also a hero outside of school. During lockdown Ragini was working as a volunteer 7 days a week delivering food parcels and as an activity co-ordinator supporting inpatients at the West Middlexes hospital; organising games, and offering support.
Charlotte Webber

Charlotte Webber

SEN TA of the Year

Over 90% of the school population are non-verbal and a large cohort with high sensory needs and also present with some challenging behaviour. Pupils out of routine coming to school and the majority not understanding why they are not in school presented parents with difficulties. Charlotte supported both parents and class staff making specific resources around communication, sensory stories and individualised resources for pupils and hand delivered them to their home.
Dylan Allen

Dylan Allen

TA of the Year

Dylan always goes above and beyond in every school he is sent to; in his last role he learned that the pupil attended lego therapy sessions so took it upon himself to go to the library after school and print resources to help the pupil in these sessions. He quickly established a strong relationship with the pupil’s parents who were overwhelmed with how supportive Dylan was and at the impact he had made on the pupil’s confidence and academic progress.

Carol Ashford

Carol Ashford

Social Media TA of the Year

Carol, a truly remarkable and heroic TA, was nominated by her colleague Jessica Hand. During lockdown she continual checked in, supported and went above and beyond to help our school children- even helping to give her year 6 children the send-off they deserved!

Our 2019 Winners

Antonia Todd

Antonia Todd

Secondary TA of the Year

Antonia is a caring and dedicated individual who has acted as a key adult for some of our most vulnerable and complex students. She understands their needs, and helps them to understand themselves better and is always there as a calm and collected safe person when needed.

Punam Sharma

Punam Sharma

Primary TA of the Year

Punam was nominated by Thornbury Primary Leadership Academy in Bradford, who applauded the positivity and encouragement she shows to all pupils.

Janet Skillen

Janet Skillen

SEN TA of the Year

Ultimately Jan is the sort of colleague every workplace needs. Her glass is always half-full. She sees and seeks the best in everyone – children and adults. Her enthusiasm and passion is such a valuable resource. And we love her. Thank you, Jan.

Our 2018 Winners

Jodie Jarvis

Jodie Davis

Primary TA of the Year

Jodie has a fantastic relationship with the parents and outside agencies involved with her key children, she takes the time to build relationships, listen and understands their views to make sure that school is positive and welcoming for them. There really is no end to her commitment for the children in our class.

Jacqueline McQuade

Jacqueline McQuade

Secondary TA of the Year

Jacqueline was nominated by Regent High School in London for her crucial work running literacy interventions for students. She is the lead TA for literacy interventions for students across the school which involves managing a team of TAs who work on a one-to-one and small group basis with students whose literacy is significantly below their age-related expectation.

Francesca Bennett

Francesca Bennet

SEN TA of the Year

Fran is Little Miss Sunshine, everywhere she goes she spreads light and happiness. Staff in any school may be the most expensive resource, but if staff are like Fran, every single penny is well spent.

Our 2017 Winner

Jane Middleton

Jane Middleton

TA of the Year

“Jane has a tremendous work ethic. She works tirelessly to ensure that students who require exam access arrangements are allocated exam rooms with TA Staff”

Our 2016 Winner

Lyndsay Pepper

Lindsey Pepper

TA of the Year

“Lindsey supports students with organising support and provision before school starts, she supervises CHAT support during lunchtimes and breaks and she stays after school to help anyone at all who needs help… Not to mention the lovely cakes she bakes for the other TA staff too!”

Our 2015 Winner

Aaron Critoph

Aaron Critoph

TA of the Year

“Aaron has worked relentlessly to support a pupil with complex needs. There has been times when we have felt that we were not able to meet the pupils needs, but Aaron has consistently thought and created innovative approaches to motivate and support the pupils.”

Our 2014 Winner

Dave Higgs

Dave Higgs

TA of the Year

“Dave will speak to and visit families and is always available to parents at the end of the school day. I spend my management life apologising to Dave for impacting on his PPA to assist pupils or organise events”

Our 2013 Winner

Bev Hodgins

Bev Hodgins

TA of the Year

“Her extensive knowledge of the children is extraordinary. She enthusiastically plans and leads whole school activities on special occasions”

Our 2012 Winner

Christine Hussey

Christine Hussey

TA of the Year

“Christine never goes an extra mile; she runs a marathon every day for the children in her care.”