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Local school celebrate dedication of school support staff

19 Mar Local school celebrate dedication of school support staff

The hard work and dedication of school support staff has been recognised with an annual awards ceremony.

New Rickstones Academy, in Witham, held the Stars in our Schools event to celebrate the staff who work behind the scenes to provide education in the town.

All staff were invited to nominate a star, or stars, in the school as part of the scheme set by UNISON, the public service union.

A total of 318 nominations were submitted in just one week, with all those voted for given access to the comments made about them.

Receptionist Christie Boutwell said: “I was really touched to read my messages; you don’t realise that what you do every day makes such a difference to others. It meant a lot. It was lovely to have a coffee and chat with colleagues, some of whom you don’t get to see very often.

“New Rickstones Academy is a great place to work.”

Hazel Corby, UNISON branch organiser, joined the celebration and said: “Support staff are often hidden behind the scenes, but they are vital to the education of young people.

“Roles are diverse, from cooks, cleaners and caretakers to pastoral support, SEND support and admin, finance, HR and IT. They play a vital role in all aspects of academy life and without them, schools would not run.

“The pandemic highlighted how important support staff are to keeping schools up and running, providing pastoral support to students and their families, and helping students progress in their learning. Many support staff were on site during lockdown periods making sure the buildings were deep cleaned, arranging IT for online learning and supporting the students of key workers. Now, many are involved in vital catch-up programmes to help students to reach their potential.”

Head of School Simon Gibbs said: “We have an amazing team of support staff at the academy and this event has been a good way to raise their profile.

“Often the ‘unsung heroes’ of the school, they work hard behind the scenes to keep the academy running like clockwork. I’m grateful for everything our support staff do; the academy wouldn’t be the same without them.”