Teaching Assistant of the Year sponsored by Recipharm

This award is for a dedicated teaching assistant who has made a real difference in their school, someone who shows kindness and compassion to the children they care for in their day-to-day school life and plays a vital role in their wellbeing and happiness, as well as playing an essential role in supporting their teaching colleagues.

Winner: Kelly Cavanagh at Darnhall Primary School

A PHENOMENAL teaching assistant was surprised with a special presentation of her Education Award in a year six classroom.

Kelly Cavanagh, who has been at Darnhall Primary School for 13 years, is the deserving winner of our Teaching Assistant of the Year.

Continually going above and beyond for the children in her care and understanding their individual needs are award-winning qualities and the nominations for Kelly struck a chord with our judges.

One nomination said: “Kelly is a phenomenal teaching assistant who goes above and beyond and really takes the time to understand her students and their needs.”

Another said: “Kelly has worked at Darnhall Primary School for many years and has truly nourished and taken care of every student she has looked after.

“She has an exceptional talent for helping those with special educational needs flourish and grow.

“Kelly really goes above and beyond to get to know the children she works with and they all adore and trust her completely.



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“My son had a particularly tricky time in key stage two but Kelly was the person who really understood his needs, not just because she was supporting him but because she went over and above taking the time to get to know him as a person, listened to him and had so much empathy for his needs.

“Her skills as a teaching assistant are unique and I have met very few other teaching assistants quite like her.

“I wholeheartedly believe that my son would not have made it through year five and six without her supporting him and being the trusted person that he felt safe, both physically and mentally.

“She truly is the best teaching assistant.”

Teaching Assistant of the Year Kelly Cavanagh with some of the pupils at Darnhall Primary School

Teaching Assistant of the Year Kelly Cavanagh with some of the pupils at Darnhall Primary School

Sarah Tomlinson, headteacher at Darnhall Primary School, praised Kelly for her hard work and dedication.

She said: “Mrs Cavanagh is a deserving winner of this award and could win this award every year; she is such an asset to our school and has been since 2010.

“Kelly is loved so much by children, families and staff.

“Ex-pupils come back to visit her and her supportive approach has helped many pupils through tricky times especially the transition to high school.

“It’s clear to see that Mrs Cavanagh loves her job.


“She takes time to get to know each child in the class, their interests, hobbies and needs.

“She will value and nurture these by building strong, trusting relationships, and supporting the children when they are struggling.

“Kelly always has consistently high expectations of the children and their capabilities.

“Her firm and fair approach is well respected.

“Well done Kelly – and thank you for all that you do!”