Caroline gets award and could be TV star

Ethan O'Neill and Dylan McAteer.with Caroline Devine
Ethan O'Neill and Dylan McAteer.with Caroline Devine

A Derry teaching assistant has scooped the top award in the Northern Ireland Finals of the UK Teaching Awards.

Caroline Devine, Teaching Assistant in St Colmcille’s Primary School & Nursery Unit Claudy, will represent the Western Education & Library Board at the UK Final of this prestigious competition on Sunday. The ceremony in London will be hosted by tv presenter Clare Balding and broadcast on BBC 2.

Caroline was nominated by her appreciative headteacher, Mrs Briege O’Neill, who said: “Caroline makes an exceptional contribution to school life. She is a Special Needs Assistant and is responsible for children with a range of needs- visually and hearing impaired, Down Syndrome, amongst others - and in all cases she is a great support.”

Teaching Award judges who visited the school said: “Caroline is simply exceptional and a very worthy winner of this prestigious Award.”

The message board on the Teaching Awards website reports many comments from colleagues and parents of St Colmcille’s Primary School Claudy. One parent records: “Couldn’t ask for a better classroom assistant. My son, Ethan, looks at Caroline as not only his SEN Assistant but as his good friend. Caroline will go to any lengths to assist him.”

The Pearson Teaching Awards champion exceptional teaching professionals across the UK. They say all young people deserve the best chance to make progress in their lives through education and great teachers make this happen.