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Website URL : http://www.swansea.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=17180

Swansea finalists in national teachers award

A SWANSEA primary could be one of the first schools in the country to scoop a prestigious sustainable schools award.

image depicting Gors Community School

Gors Community School has been named as a finalist for the first ever award of its kind to be presented in the popular national Teaching Awards 2007.

The Cockett community school is in line for the inaugural DfES award for sustainable schools in recognition of its work to ensure pupils learn about and tackle practical steps to protect the environment.

The work has also been recognised in the naming of the schools chair of governors Mrs Hilary Sullivan as a finalist in the Teaching Award's Governor of the Year award category.

Mrs Sullivan and her team of governors have proactively supported the development of Gors as an eco-school.

From the tender age of three, youngsters at the Gors Avenue school learn simple things about recycling and why they should not waste paper.

As they get older they tackle trickier themes such as climate change and the impact of harmful emissions, as well as local and global citizenship issues.

The children also learn first hand about issues across the world such as global warming through links with schools in India, Poland, Sweden, Germany and Italy.

Through a Global Schools scheme the school has strong links with a school in Udaipur, in Rajasthan, where global issues are developed and studied.

Head teacher Keith Atkins said: "We are delighted to have been recognised by being named as a finalist in the sustainable schools award. It is also only right that the work of Mrs Sullivan as a school governor is being recognised.

"We believe that schools should be about preparing children to be citizens of tomorrow. Each child has a contribution to make to the world of the future.

"As part of this we feel it is important that children know about the world and the environment and people's impact on it.

"One of the best ways of engaging a youngster is to give them real experience and first hand contact with people's whose lives are affected by issues such as global warming.

"The school owes some credit for the development and success of its work to our proactive and hands on team of governors and Mrs Sullivan in particular."

Also named as a finalists in the Teaching Awards 2007 are two of Swansea's dedicated army of teaching assistants.

Yvonne Thomas, aged 62, from Llangyfelach Primary School has been supporting staff and pupils there for more than 15 years.

Her work ranges from helping children with reading and writing to putting together art work displays and supervising lunchtimes.

The mother-of-two, who has inspired her own daughter to become a teaching assistant too, said: "This is a wonderful school with lovely teachers and children. It is joy to be part of it. I really enjoy my role. I had no idea I had been nominated by the school. Everyone has been congratulating me. It is quite a shock."

Jill Ahern from Pentrehafod School, Hafod, Swansea, has also been named as a finalist for teaching assistant of the year.

The 60-year-old mother-of-three and grandmother--of-two has worked for the local authority since 1978, but took on the challenge of becoming a teaching assistant Community Education Officer in September 2002.

Her main role is developing activities for children outside school, building links with the community, developing citizenship and accessing funding for these things to take place.

"I love my role. I think I have one of the best jobs here. It presents all kinds of challenges but I really enjoy developing activities for young people they might not otherwise have access too.

"It is all about opening doors of opportunity for young people which can enrich their education and lives.

"I am absolutely delighted to have been nominated for these awards."

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