Esta Bernardini
  • The Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year
  • Carlton Keighley
  • Keighley, West Yorkshire

Through her work with visually impaired students, Esta has quietly transformed the culture of SEND support in this school, making it truly inclusive and accessible to pupils who previously would not have considered accessing this provision.

This year has seen the culmination of her remarkable five-year, life-transforming journey of support for one particular Year 7 student who is registered blind. This was the first time a visually impaired student had attended a mainstream rather than specialist setting in Bradford.  The school team had no experience of working with visually impaired students, so this was a steep learning curve. Esta worked tirelessly to build support networks with the local authority’s visually impaired team, took qualifications in braille and spent countless hours working with subject teachers to ensure that this student received high quality resources that enable him to access the full curriculum.

The moral purpose, commitment and sensitivity Esta has displayed mark her out as an ‘exceptional colleague who embodies the school mission of Excellence for All.