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A list of top teachers, support teams and leaders have been revealed in the people’s choice category for the Teach Portsmouth Awards Live.

Teach Portsmouth, part of Portsmouth City Council, promotes teacher recruitment and retention in the city. In January, local residents were asked to nominate a school or college team member who had gone above and beyond to support their community during the pandemic.

The category was created in response to the unique and challenging situation COVID-19 presented for those working in education settings. Inspirational stories of teachers calling home to check on children and head teachers delivering food parcels have featured in supporting statements submitted for the category.

Councillor Suzy Horton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education at Portsmouth City Council, said:

“Schools and colleges have done an amazing job supporting vulnerable families as well as making sure everyone remains connected in a safe and secure way. This has made a huge difference to local residents home-schooling children during each lockdown. It was only right that we allowed local residents to nominate a teacher, support team or head teacher in an all-new category.

“When looking online, it is clear that those who feature in the list have left a lasting impression on the local community.”

Parents and carers of children and young people in the city have shared their experiences of those who have gone above and beyond. Annaliese Campbell, learning mentor and wellbeing lead at Langstone Junior Academy has supported the whole school during the pandemic. One parent said:

“Langstone Junior Academy is always excellent at supporting their pupils but they have worked especially hard during the pandemic. Mrs Campbell works tirelessly to support pupils and parents alike and has consistently been available. She sends out regular and carefully thought out wellbeing exercises, resources and advice.”

While many pupils were learning from home, schools never closed, with many teachers supporting keyworker children and young people in the classroom. Another parent said headteacher, Jackie Collins at Devonshire Infant School had made their child feel comforted:

“Since the start of the pandemic, parents were not allowed to bring their children into the school. Ms Collins personally greeted every child outside. She knows every name, deals with every query, every forgotten packed lunch and every tearful child. This daily undertaking is appreciated. Thank you for caring so much, Ms Collins.”

In previous years, the Teach Portsmouth Awards has only allowed head teachers in schools and colleges to take part in nominating their staff. For the first time, local residents could nominate a teacher, learning support assistant or head teacher in an education setting.

Mike Stoneman, deputy director for children, families and education at Portsmouth City Council, said:

“The last 18 months has been a challenging time for many of us, including teachers. The introduction of the people’s choice award category is a natural next step in recognising the amazing contributions from those who work in education.

“Each entry has a personal story attached to it with many instances of colleagues supporting families in profound ways. This new category provides Portsmouth with an opportunity to say a collective thank you to those who work in education.”

The Teach Portsmouth Awards have been held at iconic locations across the city including the Gaiety Bar on Southsea Pier. Due to social distancing, this year’s event will be streamed virtually through Zoom video conferencing.

The Teach Portsmouth Awards Live will take place on Thursday 8 July featuring celebrity host, Reverend Richard Coles. There are 9 award categories which showcase the talents and dedication of Portsmouth’s education community.

The awards are sponsored by local organisations including Portsmouth College, National Education Union (NEU), The University of Portsmouth, Caterlink, BAE Systems, Kier Construction, Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT), Express FM and The News.

To view those recognised in the people’s choice award category, visit: teachportsmouth.co.uk/awards.