General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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The Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year


Anne Hegarty and Angelica Bell

Mrs Anne Hegarty
Teaching Awards 2007 Winner
The Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year

St Brigids Primary School (Mayogall), MAGHERAFELT

An Ulster primary school is celebrating after its teaching assistanct scooped a prestigious National Teaching Award at a star studded ceremony in London.

"Anne says she learns something new every day and we should too," says one pupil of this outstanding teaching assistant. Another says: "She isn't just a teacher she is a person, and she understands being a child. She helps me feel good about myself."

Anne is an outstanding teaching assistant who helps every child aim high by maintaining an "excellence" board in the school reception to celebrate achievements, and by thinking up creative projects to motivate them. Three potentially challenging boys were encouraged to channel their energies into researching new identities she had assigned them. As French, Spanish and German boys they had to find out all about their new adoptive countries, by tasting food and making scrapbooks.

She puts in many hours after school and in the holidays to help pupils develop their talents, and has worked hard to improve the school grounds, finding funding for a sensory garden and improving the play area used by the youngest children. She runs many special interest clubs, and has inspired pupils to take a keen interest in environmental issues, as well as being the driving force behind many health projects at school. Out of school, Anne is active in the community and talented at writing and producing plays.

Parents say she has a rare ability to see things from a child's point of view, and that ex-pupils keep in touch with her long after they have left school. They describe her as "courageous" and "unstoppable." Colleagues say she is the centre of the school, and her infectious laugh makes it a happier place for everyone. They describe her as "loyal, hardworking, cheerful, discreet, professional and dedicated."

In fact, they say, she should really run a school, judging by all the initiatives and projects she has got off the ground! One day that might happen. Anne is dedicated to extending her professional skills. She has taken a number of part-time courses and is now applying to train as a teacher.

Ms Hegarty was among 11 regional winners from Ulster who entered the national finals after a ceremony in Belfast.



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