Dedicated WA public school education assistants have been recognised on the national stage as finalists in the 2023 Australian Teacher Aide of the Year Awards.
The national awards showcase the dedication and effort of education assistants (also called teacher aides) across Australia and recognise their positive impact on students.
Kathryn Collins, a special needs education assistant at Tambellup Primary School, has been named as an individual finalist, while Ocean Reef Senior High School’s Education Assistant team is a finalist in the team category.
Ms Collins was nominated for her impact on student learning, communication, and dedication to meeting the diverse needs of the students.
She has implemented various programs at the school, including speech therapy, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, and has created individualised recording systems to monitor each child’s development.
Tambellup Primary School Teacher Sue Sheridan nominated Ms Collins for the award.
“She has been the catalyst which has enabled children who have started school as non-verbal to be able to communicate with their peers and with the teaching staff, through the use of signing and verbal communication,” Ms Sheridan said.
The team at Ocean Reef Senior High School was nominated for their commitment to providing all students opportunities to achieve their best.
The team has a wide variety of expertise and knowledge. From creative arts to maths, the education assistants support all students with their social skills, behavioural issues and emotional regulation, as well as students with physical disabilities.
Jay Morris, head of learning support at Ocean Reef Senior High School, nominated the team for the award.
“The Ocean Reef Senior High School Education assistants have an unwavering commitment to ensure all students have equitable access to educational opportunities so that they can reach their full potential,” Mr Morris said.
“The team works collaboratively with teachers, providing guidance and support to modify student work so that it is possible for students to understand and access.”
Winners will be announced on Thursday 31 August as part of Australian Teacher Aide Appreciation Week.