Tina, 38, is trainee headteacher and special educational needs (SEN) co-ordinator at Barham Primary in Sudbury – and she’s been recognised with the “Excellence in Special Needs education” award at the annual Pearson National Teaching Awards.
Speaking after the ceremony, which was took place on Sunday October 20 but was broadcast on BBC2 on October 26, Tina told this newspaper: “It’s not really sunk in! My school nominated me, but I only found out in June when I was given the silver award.
“I can talk for Britain but it stopped me from speaking.”
The teacher, who was brought up in Willesden and has spent her entire life except for university in Brent, said it was an award to be shared between her colleagues at the school.
She said: “So many people contributed. My family, colleagues, other teachers all spoke up on my behalf.
“I oversee all of the children at Barham with special needs. We are a really inclusive school here – but I can’t take the credit for any of it.”
Tina said her success had been, in part, because SEN provision had become a passion. “The one thing I would say is I have fallen madly in love with SEN. It’s the most important thing,” she said.
She said: “It’s about the way we are so inclusive and make sure that the kids have the same opportunities, if not more opportunities, to make sure they can reach the same outcomes as everyone else.”
Cuts in education did have an impact on SEN provision, Tina added, making it harder to offer specialist provision. “I do some work for Brent Council itself. That’s given me some real insight into the issue. there are a high number of children coming through every year and we need more SEN school places,” she said.
The awards were presented by a host of famous names including DJ Trevor Nelson, author Cressida Cowell and gymnast Max Whitlock.
Tina was the only teacher from London to win an award this year.