A News story by Radhika Sharma 26 May 2021

We are delighted to announce that the trust has been shortlisted for two Tes Awards this year! Emma Smythe at Parkwood E-ACT Academy has been shortlisted for Classroom Support Assistant of the Year and Nechells E-ACT Academy has been shortlisted for the Wellbeing and Mental Health Award!

As we wait for the winners to be announced on 25 June, here’s why Emma and Nechells are so deserving of this incredible recognition.

Emma’s story

As a classroom support assistant at Parkwood E-ACT Academy, Emma supports some of our most challenging and hard to reach students.

Unfortunately, many students at Parkwood grow up in a particularly disadvantaged part of Sheffield, with more than half of students qualifying for pupil premium. There are many children who have experienced trauma, so Emma works closely with the wellbeing officer to create bespoke support and interventions for these students.

Emma has also launched an English as a second language (EAL) induction programme, allowing students to gain basic communication skills before entering a mainstream classroom. During lockdown, Emma ensured that her students were able to continue their 1:1 EAL provision both virtually and in person for those who joined the keyworker and vulnerable bubble.

The impact of Emma’s incredible work can clearly be seen through the 5% increase in EAL students achieving grades 9-4 in either English and Mathematics in the 2019-2020 academic year. Emma has faced and consistently overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges because of her unwavering devotion to our students – she is vital to their success.

Nechells’ story

Growing up in Nechells, some of our pupils face levels of deprivation among the highest in the country. Mental health and wellbeing threads through everything the academy does, having the highest aspirations for the children, staff and community. By taking the decision to become a ‘trauma informed school’, Nechells Academy were able to closely support their most vulnerable children during lockdown.

By using catch-up funding to train a member of staff as an emotional literacy support assistant, the academy was able to continue to deliver interventions during lockdown to their higher need children. The academy also trained six staff members as emotion coaches. Whilst support is targeted at children who don’t always recognise their own emotions, the coaches were able to help all children to manage their stress responses during lockdown.

Post lockdown, pupils returned with significant worries about COVID. Our relationships and recovery curriculum supported them to re-establish and learn new ways of living and learning. After returning to the academy, over 90% of pupils said they knew who to ask for help – a key focus of the curriculum.
We are so proud to have been shortlisted in two categories this year and we wish both Emma and Nechells Academy the best of luck! You can watch the awards ceremony live by registering here.