A teaching assistant from Leicestershire was presented with a national award on the BBC’s The one Show last week.
Maria Gallagher from Ashmount College in Loughborough also won a silver Pearson National Teaching Award in September along with another Leicestershire teacher.
She was presented with a gold award for her efforts out of thousands of other nominees.
Maria Gallagher was the first recipient of her school’s Outstanding Colleague award due to her skill and dedication to her role.
Maria is involved in all aspects of school life, acting as Family Support Worker, Deputy Designated Senior Lead for Child Protection, Emotional Literacy Support Assistant and staff governor, as well as covering an absent teacher for a full year.
She also leads on fundraising for the school, has organised supplies for Leicester Royal Infirmary and the local food bank, and even fosters guide dogs at home.
Maria said that the award came to a shock to her. She said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have received this award.
“It was quite a shock, but it’s really lovely to be recognised like this.
“Of course, it is a team effort, and Ashmount is a great school to work in.
“This is great for the school and the children, and it’s really nice to give them a bit of excitement in these times.”
The award was presented to her live on television by The One Show presenter Alex Jones last Monday.
Speaking about the awards, the presenter said: “We are so thrilled to have Maria on the show and to thank them for their incredible work.
“We all know the value of a great teacher, and Maria has proven themselves to be both outstanding and inspirational.
“There has never been a more important time to celebrate the hard work that happens in our schools across the country, and we are delighted to do our bit to thank them.”
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson also commented on the awards and thanked every teacher and all those involved in the education system for their hard work during these unprecedented times.
He said: “A massive congratulations to this year’s gold award winners – teachers and school staff truly deserve the national recognition for the work they do to motivate, inspire and support pupils day in, day out.
“This year has been like no other, and it is because of schools’ hard work that millions of pupils are able to be in the classroom receiving an outstanding education. I would like to thank every single teacher and staff member for what they have done for our children.”
Many of the Pearson National Teaching Award Gold Award winners, chosen from thousands of nominations, will receive national acclaim for their incredible work supporting students across the country.
Each award winner has repeatedly gone above and beyond their role to change the lives of their students and help them move towards a brighter future.
The Pearson National Teaching Awards, which are now in its 22nd year, is an annual celebration of exceptional teachers, 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 teach.