11 Aug 2022

National award for County Derry teaching assistant

She was described by colleagues as being an 'inspiration'.

National award for County Derry teaching assistant

Mid Ulster District Council Chair Paul McLean visited the school this morning to congratulate Margaret on her achievement.

A County Derry teaching assistant has this afternoon been named as one of the recipients of a UK-wide teaching award.

Margaret Mullan, teaching assistand at St Mary's Gramar School, Magherafelt, is among 80 award-winners as part of the Pearson National Teaching Awards.

Margaret, who joined the school in 2017, has been honoured with a Silver Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year due to her outstanding commitment to changing children's lives.

Prior to taking up her current role, she had worked as a Special Educational Needs Advisor within the Education Authority and as a peripatetic tutor for children with visual impairment.

Margaret works daily with a student who, through a rare genetic disorder, lost their sight, without warning, over a very short space of time at the beginning of their GCSE journey.

She continues to support this pupil and has been successful in helping him to reintegrate into his friendship group, developing his confidence within the school environment and returning him to his planned career pathway of completing GCSE’s, A Level’s and University.

As a Silver Award winner, Margaret has now been shortlisted to win one of just 16 Gold Awards later in the year, in a programme to be broadcast on the BBC.

Recognition of this once in a lifetime achievement will be broadcast on the BBC’s The One Show as part of a week-long celebration of teaching.

The school held a celebratory event this morning in Magherafelt.

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in education, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with.

St Mary's this morning held a celebratory breakfast in Margaret's honour, with the school posting on social media to congratulate her on her achievement.

“Margaret has shown great determination, commitment, loyalty and passion in support of the student with whom she has been working over the past 5 years,” they said.

“With Margaret’s help, this student who was registered blind in 2019, has made huge strides both academically and personally.

“Their journey has been truly remarkable and it is fitting that Margaret is the top prize winner out of hundreds of applications from all across the UK.

“We wish to pass on our gratitude and congratulations to Margaret on this fantastic achievement, and look forward to photos from the Awards ceremony later this year.”

Sharon Hague, Managing Director of Schools at Pearson UK, congratulated all the winners announced this afternoon.

“Congratulations to today’s Silver Award winners on their incredible achievement, they should all feel very proud of themselves,” she said.

“And thank you to all the incredible educators and support staff across this country who really do make our schools and colleges so special.

“I am delighted that we can take this opportunity to say how much we appreciate all that you do for the young people in your care.”

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