An initiative to thank school staff who have gone above and beyond in their community has reached an important milestone.

Over 500 thank you messages have been received from across Portsmouth after parents/carers and colleagues in primary, secondary and specialist schools nominated a superhero staff member.

To celebrate reaching this milestone, staff members alongside parents/carers at Arundel Court Primary Academy came together to thank staff in person for their efforts. The school currently leads the way with 45 thank you messages.

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

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in our schools. We have been blown away by the response we have received from Portsmouth’s community since launching in January.

“There is no shortage of school superheroes – that’s why we’re extending the deadline to Friday 15 March, ensuring everyone has had a chance to recognise someone. We want every school in the city to have a collection of messages – so please play your part and help us get there.”

Those in attendance at the event were welcomed by senior council leaders alongside, head teacher, Ruth Worswick and Cate Worrall, head of training and development at the University of Chichester Academy Trust. Attendees enjoyed light refreshments and a chance to thank people in person. Cate said:

“It was a real pleasure to be able to host this special event. As a community, we have got behind this in every way, with parents/carers and colleagues getting involved to thank people. This initiative is an opportunity to recognise the incredible contribution of individuals.

“It’s also a chance for staff to pause and remember how much of an impact they make on the lives of children and their families.”

Bianca Wheatcroft who is a parent at the school, attended the celebration event to thank Gillian Moran, a receptionist. Bianca said:

“It was a no brainer to thank Gillian as she is always so helpful. Her work is unbelievably important. She is always a reassuring face first thing in the morning.”

In Bianca’s thank you message, she highlighted that Gillian always goes above and beyond to make sure issues are resolved quickly. Gillian said:

“I’d like to thank Bianca for recognising my work. Being thanked by someone is a fabulous feeling. It’s been an absolute pleasure to help families, ensuring they have the right information, when they need it most.”

Alex Redman, who works at the school as a year six teacher, supported his daughter Isobel to write a thank you message for Tanya Cutler. Alex said:

“The thank you tea party was a great way to gather together and recognise everyone’s achievements. While my daughter was unable to attend, it was fantastic to celebrate with Tanya.”

In her thank you message, Isobel said: ‘Miss Cutler is really kind and funny. She always helps me when I’m nervous and picks me up and spins me around! She makes me feel brave and happy to be in school.’

Tanya who supports pupils in the pastoral team said:

“I was completely taken aback by this thank you message. It came as a real surprise. Messages like this reaffirm why I do my job.”

Teach Portsmouth launched the thank a school superhero initiative in January with a special event at Meon Way Federation. Pupils from across the three schools came together to celebrate their staff alongside their head teacher.

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

“It was a real pleasure to meet staff at Arundel Court Primary Academy and celebrate their achievements. This initiative has demonstrated the impact school staff have on families and the difference they make.

“It’s important to recognise their work. If people feel valued, they are more likely to stay local, supporting our communities. This is one of our priorities, as part of the Portsmouth Education Partnership, ensuring children and young people have the professionals they need to thrive.”

The deadline for thank you messages has been extended to Friday 15 March. There is no limit on who can be thanked in a primary, secondary or specialist school.

It is recommended whoever is chosen, should still work at the school. Messages will be sent to schools inside a hamper of goodies in June 2024.

For more information and to share a thank you message, visit www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/thankyou