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Southport & Mersey Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 3 December 2007

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Nominate a teaching assistant now!

TEACHING assistants are the unsung heroes of the nation’s schools and there are 23,730 in the North West alone. Why not give them the public recognition they deserve and nominate them for a Teaching Award?   All those who make a nomination at will enter a free prize draw with the chance to win one of 5 prizes worth £1,000 each to spend on books for their nominated school, courtesy of Oxford University Press (OUP).

Maggie Eyre, who gained a distinction for the TDA Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year from Cale Green Primary School, Stockport, Cheshire said:- ‘I came into the role of learning mentor, just as it was introduced. I feel very honoured, pleased and proud to have been nominated. The children had to write a bit about me and it was very moving.’

A fellow teaching assistant and colleague from The Grange Comprehensive School, Runcorn, Cheshire nominated Brenda McDermott who won the 2007 TDA Award for Teaching Assistant of the year in the North West. ‘Brenda works within the SEN area of the school and works with pupils who have a wide range of learning difficulties. She helps the pupils to gain self-esteem and instils a feeling of belonging. Staff and pupils feel part of a big family. She is just the best.’

Caroline Evans, chief executive of the Teaching Awards, says a nomination for the TDA Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year can give a huge boost to school support staff including learning mentors and all levels of teaching assistants.  ‘Their roles have changed radically in recent years and they play such a big part in the life of every school. Time and again we have seen the benefit that a nomination can bring – it’s a reward that makes people feel special and the feel-good effect rubs off on everyone around them.’

The Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year in 2008 is being sponsored for the first time by the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA). Graham Holley, TDA chief executive, is delighted to give his organisation’s name to this major category. He said:- ‘We are delighted to sponsor the TDA Award for Teaching Assistant of the Year in recognition of the vital contribution they make to pupils’ teaching and learning, and the growing number of dedicated teaching assistants, HLTAs, learning mentors and other support staff who help our excellent teachers.’

Anyone can nominate an outstanding teaching assistant, inspirational headteacher, teacher, governor or school for a Teaching Award - parents, colleagues, pupils and members of the local community.  Next year is the Teaching Awards 10th Anniversary. Lenny Henry, Rob Brydon, Jemma Kidd and Jon Snow are among 10 famous names pictured by Rankin, the celebrity photographer, in support of the 2008 Teaching Awards.


TRADING Standards officers in Sefton are leading a special consumer pilot scheme which gives out free financial advice. Called the Thorensen Review, the Government funded scheme aims to look at how generic financial advice can be provided to everyone.

A pilot scheme was set up in the region involving Consumer Direct North West and the Citizens Advice Bureau, which involved the help of Sefton Trading Standards through a special Steering Group.

Through the scheme, free advice is now available for everyone across the borough to help them budget and plan their finances. Accessing the new service will also arm consumers to help them deal with banks, building societies, insurance and financial service companies on an equal footing.

The service also suggest other avenues where consumers can go to help them make more informed financial choices.Such advice can be made by just calling a low cost number or by visiting a website.

Sefton Trading Standards Mananger, Andrew Naisbitt said"Everyone should be able to get good financial advice easily and simply and this is exactly what this scheme sets out to do.

"The advice is given free of charge and what is good about the service is that they will not try and sell a product or a service to anyone who contacts them. They will also not pass on consumer's details on to any financial service providers.

" By offering specialist financial advice in this way, it will raise awareness of consumer law issues and Trading Standard services, particularly in relation to consumer credit legislation.

" Anyone can call but consumers must remember this is only a trial scheme."

The pilot scheme runs until 17 December 2007 and for free impartial financial advice, call 0844 581 1020 or visit

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