Monday November 14 2016

Merseyside teaching assistant wins prestigious education award

North West winner Paula Lacey from Rainford High will now head to the national awards finals in November.

Merseyside teaching assistant wins prestigious education award

Paula Lacey, a higher level teaching assistant (HLTA) at Rainford High Technology College has won the regional round of a prestigious award.

Paula won The Outstanding HLTA Northwest Award at the HLTA of the Year Awards 2016 for her strong commitment to students facing literacy difficulties including dyslexia, and the lasting impact she is having on pupils’ futures.

There was strong competition from schools across the region but Paula Lacey was named 2016’s Higher Level Teaching Assistant of the Year in the North West and was presented with a trophy and certificate at the ceremony at Headingley Carnegie Stadium in Leeds.

Nominated by Rainford High ICT teacher and SENCO Jo Burgess and assistant SENCO Kate Hodgetts, Paula is described as a remarkable, committed member of staff who “goes above and beyond to get to know each student and find the right intervention for them to progress.” Paula has specialist SEN knowledge alongside literacy expertise which allows her to create intervention plans for students which result in real progress.

Paula has worked at Rainford High for 14 years and has made a massive impact during her time at the school. Some of the initiatives Paula has set up include a weekly class with vulnerable learners, delivering an ‘Emotional Literacy’ program; regular inset days for teaching staff to help them understand dyslexia and introducing multi-sensory and memory approaches to literacy for individual learners.

The awards were introduced in 2010 and HTLAs from across the country compete in regional finals before joining together for the national ceremony. The HLTA North Awards include the regions Yorkshire and Humber, North East and North West. Higher level teaching assistants are nominated by school colleagues for their excellence in advancing the learning of pupils, working effectively as part of the school community and bringing expertise to the staff team.

Paula, who is currently studying for a postgraduate certificate in SpLD Dyslexia alongside her role at Rainford High, is delighted to have won this award.

She says: “I am really thrilled to have won this award as it gives recognition for the contribution that HLTAs make in schools. I look forward to continuing the work that I do at Rainford, ensuring that we provide the highest standard of support for students to be able to achieve their aspirations.”

Headteacher Ian Young, added: “We are so proud of Mrs Lacey for winning this highly recognised award and wish her the best of luck for the national award ceremony in a few weeks’ time. She is an amazing team player who is respected by all members of the school community.

“Paula goes above and beyond for our pupils and is committed to ensuring every learner develops and progresses, instilling high aspirations in every student she meets.”

Paula will now compete with eight other regional finalists at the National Awards ceremony at London’s Broadway House on Monday 21st November. All nine finalists will tour the House of Parliament before the event, with the winner being presented with their award by a Member of Parliament.

"We are so proud of Mrs Lacey for winning this highly recognised award and wish her the best of luck for the national award ceremony in a few weeks' time."
Headteacher Ian Young

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