Pearson National Teaching Awards

Celebrating transformational teaching

David Bonnington,

Winner, The Award For Teaching Assistant Of The Year, 2012

“Winning the award was a surprise and an honour, I am particularly proud of it and of the young people who considered me worthy of an award”

David Bonnington
Winner of the Award for Teaching Assistant Of The Year 2012
Now Teaching Assistant, Sidestrand Hall School


Winning the award was a surprise and an honour, I am particularly proud of it and of the young people who found school difficult and challenging for a variety of reasons, who considered me worthy of an award. What I do now is not dissimilar – always looking for positive outcomes – listening, noticing and looking for the possible and building on what young people can do rather than what they can’t.

I enjoy alternative curriculum and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award which has an inclusive experiential approach to life.

I was awarded a Teaching Award in 2012 – age 53. I left education in 2014 in light of possible job cuts to support staff – and followed another career for two years before returning to work in education as a teaching assistant in a school for special, behavioural and complex needs – I am still there!


I have always been interested in education, lifelong learning and in particular experiential learning.

Before entering paid employment in education, I was an active PTA member, school governor, school theatre member and a school’s admissions panel member. Eventually….on my last application… (having done many) …I succeeded in gaining a Teaching Assistant position in a high school at the age of 48 after coming to education from industry. I held the position of Inclusion Room Manager attached to the school’s Special Education Needs department. During this period, I completed my degree with the OU – something that I was keen to do.  

I have always been interested in job instruction and was inspired by a trainer in my early years in industry who suggested that I get a bit more experience before I went down that route… well I did, I got about 30 years’ worth!


I am proud of the relationships I have forged and continue to forge with young people particularly those with challenges on a daily basis.