Portsmouth City Council launches award for teachers who have gone ‘above and beyond’ during the pandemic

IT’S time to recognise school staff who have gone ‘above and beyond’ to support the Portsmouth’s children during the pandemic.

Monday, 14th December 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Monday, 14th December 2020, 9:53 am
Portsmouth City Council's cabinet member for education, Cllr Suzy Horton, with the new People's Choice Award trophy.

The Teach Portsmouth Awards celebrate excellence in the classroom and the People’s Choice Award, which will this year be sponsored by The News, will be presented as part of the annual ceremony so parents and students can say thanks to teachers or staff who have gone the extra mile.

With schools having remained open to all keyworkers during the pandemic and to all children during the latest lockdown, many staff have taken on more – covering for colleagues who may be having to isolate and adapting lessons to provide live streamed sessions and online resources for students – all while putting their own health potentially on the line as virus cases have increased.

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Award winners at last year's Teach Portsmouth Awards Night. Picture : Habibur Rahman

In September The News reported the massive operation undertaken by school staff to create as safe an environment as possible for pupils to return to classrooms. Speaking at the time, Priory School headteacher Stewart Vaughan commented: ‘This has been the biggest logistical reorganisation of a school I have experienced, in what has been the shortest possible available time.’

Measures included one-way systems, relocation of entire departments, complete restructuring of the school day and rigorous cleaning regimes.

While much of the work which goes on behind the scenes often goes unnoticed it’s hoped this award will help to ensure the selfless efforts of school staff to keep educating children during the pandemic and enabling other keyworkers to continue to work will be given the recognition it deserves.

Speaking at the launch of the new award, Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for education Cllr Suzy Horton said: ‘The Teach Portsmouth Awards are always a fantastic way to celebrate the achievements of Portsmouth's superstar teachers. More so than ever before, Covid-19 has shown the resilience of colleagues across the city.

‘The introduction of the people's choice award gives the local community a chance to say thank you to the school staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.’

It was a sentiment echoed by the council’s deputy director of children, families and education, Mike Stoneman, who said: ‘Recognising the efforts of school staff in the city is more important than ever before. It has been a challenging year for school staff across the sector.

‘The Teach Portsmouth Awards is a great way to showcase teaching excellence but also the care and attention colleagues have shown families, young people and children during this time.’

The awards ceremony, which is run in conjunction with the Portsmouth Education Partnership, normally takes place in September but was postponed until March 11 due to Covid restrictions. However with ongoing uncertainty over tier regulations it will now be held as a virtual online event.

The People’s Choice Award is an opportunity for pupils, families and the wider community to nominate teachers, support teams and leaders who have gone ‘above and beyond’ during the pandemic.

Nominations can be made via the Teach Portsmouth website. Nominations must be submitted by January 13 and accompanied by an explanation as to why that person is being put forward. A shortlist of deserving candidates will then be compiled for the big night.

The Teach Portsmouth Awards were introduced three years ago to raise the profile of teachers across the city and provide recognition for the work they do.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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