Cheshire teaching assistant Lorraine Jenkinson was crowned winner of the Reed Improving Lives Award for Education for her commitment to the education sector, and her touching initiative to help pupils with anxiety or the loss of a loved one.
Lorraine, a Higher Level Teaching Assistant at Styal Primary School, in Wilmslow, Cheshire, scooped an award and £1000 shopping voucher for improving the lives of children by going above and beyond her daily role.
The accolade is part of a national competition set up by Reed Specialist Recruitment to recognise dedicated individuals in the public services sector who are making a real difference to the lives of others through their work. Launched on 2 March 2020, Reed Specialist Recruitment received hundreds of submissions from the public over a three-month period, nominating local heroes who are making a real difference to the lives of others.
Nominated by her manager Alicia Bellshaw, Lorraine was called “the most altruistic person I have ever encountered”. Alicia continued:
When there are children who need extra support as a result of the tough journey which life has taken them on, Lorraine will always be there… She inspires others to be more like her.
In addition to her day-to-day role, Lorraine has been offering her time to pupils struggling with issues at school or in their personal lives. To help the children, she has made herself readily available - including on her days off or at the weekend - to ensure that any pupil who needs extra support receives it.
Lorraine has set up initiatives at Styal Primary School to help as many pupils as possible, including self-soothing boxes and memory boxes – boxes designed to help pupils through difficult times, whether anxiety or the loss of a loved one. This requires Lorraine discussing with the child what would help them, then spending time obtaining these items, and personalising each box for the pupil who will receive it.
Additionally, Lorraine also offers regular cooking lessons to pupils, buying the ingredients herself and helping them to cook a meal which they can take home to enjoy with their families.
“Care is clearly at the heart of all she does”, was just one comment from the judging panel as to why Lorraine became the worthy winner for the education award. Gavin Beart, Divisional Managing Director for Reed Education, commented: “Lorraine is a rock and the glue that sticks this primary school together. A fantastic nomination to read, and just makes me think that her heart must be massive.”
After receiving her award, Lorraine Jenkinson, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be announced as the winner of the Reed Improving Lives Award for Education and be recognised by my peers for my work.
“The recent lockdown has been a testing period for everyone, particularly for those pupils who are used to receiving extra support while at school. I didn’t want anyone to feel any more isolated than they already were, and the feedback we’ve received has been very humbling.
I would like to say a massive thank you to my manager, Alicia Bellshaw, who nominated me for this award, as well as those who have supported me. This is something I’m extremely passionate about, so to receive this recognition is hugely rewarding.
Gavin Beart added: “We’re delighted to announce Lorraine as the winner of the Improving Lives Award for Education. Her work at Styal Primary School has helped a number of pupils who have faced difficulties or struggled to cope with the changes to everyday to life in recent months.
“The awards were established to recognise individuals who go above and beyond to support others, and Lorraine embodies just that. Everyone at Reed Specialist Recruitment would like to say congratulations to Lorraine!”