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A surprise award giving outside Portsmouth Guildhall recognised school and college staff who have worked for 20 years or more in the city.

The Teach Portsmouth Awards take place on Thursday 9 June at Portsmouth Guildhall showcasing the efforts of teachers, learning support assistants, teams and head teachers in 10 award categories. The long service award is the only category that is not shortlisted with all recipients receiving a trophy.

In total, 84 people have been recognised for their long service to education with 17 people attending the surprise gathering in Guildhall Square.

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

“Working in a school or college provides a rewarding career for many people supporting children and young people. Times change but the role of educating people continues with many people enjoying long careers in the city.

“The fact 84 colleagues have been recognised is a testament to their resilience and professionalism. Their dedication to the city’s families is incredible. I would like to thank you for all that you do – your efforts have not gone unnoticed.”

Jennifer Robinson, a teacher at Ark Dickens Primary Academy started her career as a 1-1 teaching assistant. In her supporting statement, her colleague said that her passion for educating pupils was obvious as soon as she set foot in the classroom.

Jennifer Robinson, teacher at Ark Dickens Primary Academy

Jennifer Robinson, teacher at Ark Dickens Primary Academy

Jennifer said:

“When my colleague told me I had been put forward for the long service award it quickly became clear how far I have come in my career. I love my job and feel inspired every day. It can be challenging but I enjoy it. The rewards, when seeing each child grow in confidence, are a reminder of why I chose this career. I believe in encouraging children to take risks, use resilience, and to aspire to be their best, this has been my goal throughout my teaching journey so far.”

Erika Anders, assistant head teacher at Mayfield School knew teaching was for her after leaving university. She joined the school in July 2001 as a PE teacher. She progressed quickly from head of girls’ PE to her current role of assistant head teacher, overseeing special educational needs and safeguarding.

Erica Anders - Mayfield School

Eric Anders, deputy head teacher at Mayfield School accepts her trophy for long service to education

Erika said:

“Since leaving university, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. It has been the driving force behind my career in education so far and continues to be a big part of my life, with my own children attending Mayfield School too!

“Being recognised for long service to education is a wonderful feeling. It shows you are appreciated for all your hard work and dedication.”

The Teach Portsmouth Awards support the work of the Portsmouth Education Partnership by celebrating the achievements of school and college staff. In turn, this helps the city keep teaching talent local which ensures children and young people receive the best education possible from qualified practitioners.

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

“The long service award celebrates everyone in the school and college community. From teachers to receptionists and head teachers to site managers, this award recognises their resilience and professionalism over two decades.

“It’s not often we pause for a moment and recognise their immense efforts over a sustained period. Their impact on the Portsmouth community is immeasurable. I hope this award goes someway to shining a light on their incredible work.”

While there is no overall winner in the long service award category, those in attendance at the award giving will be part of a special film to be screened at the Teach Portsmouth Awards in June.

The awards are sponsored by organisations including National Education Union, The University of Portsmouth, Caterlink, City of Portsmouth College, HSDC, Kier, Mountjoy, Thinking Schools Academy Trust (TSAT), Gunwharf Quays and The News.

For more information on the Teach Portsmouth Awards, visit: