Meet two long service award recipients

Julie Terry and Debbie Mundy from Meon Infant School

This year, Teach Portsmouth is celebrating long service to education by inviting school staff who have worked for 20 years or more in the city to a special event.

Senior staff in primary, secondary and specialist schools put forward teachers, teaching assistants and head teachers, to enjoy a delicious afternoon tea at Portsmouth Guildhall and be presented with a trophy and certificate for this career milestone.

We would like to thank our sponsors, Salterns Academy Trust and the University of Chichester Academy Trust. Representatives from each organisation will be presenting long service recipients with their awards.

With just over one month to go before the big day, we spoke to Deborah Mundy and Julie Terry, who have been put forward to receive a long service to education award. They both work as teaching assistants at Meon Infant School.

Combined, both have over 40 years' experience supporting children in the classroom.

We spoke to Debbie and Julie about how they became a teaching assistant and what it means to be recognised for their efforts.

Where do you work and how long have you been there?

Debbie and I have been part of Meon Infant School for a combined total of 57 years. Debbie started by volunteering 27 years ago, assisting with cookery sessions in the reception class on Fridays and later joining the PTA. In total, she's been involved with the school for 30 years, with 24 of those as a teaching assistant.

My journey began when I was encouraged by a friend to apply for a position. Initially hired as a Year 2 1-to-1 assistant, I gradually expanded my role, becoming an early years teaching assistant. My dedication grew partly due to my desire for more hours when my child started school.

What is your role at the school? 

Debbie and I wear many hats at school. I help teachers and children as a teaching assistant in reception, and I also supervise children during lunch breaks. Meanwhile, Debbie is both a teaching assistant and a Higher-Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA), and she's been running the cookery club for over 16 years, adding a delicious touch to school life!

What inspired you to become a teaching assistant?

Debbie's path as a teaching assistant started with volunteering at the school, where she quickly discovered the joy of watching children grow. Her maternal instinct led her to provide the best care for every child, ensuring their success.

My journey to becoming a teaching assistant began with my background as a nursery nurse and my interest in child welfare and education. Inspired by my child's experiences in school, I found fulfilment in witnessing children's achievements and growth. This role perfectly aligned with my passion for nurturing children's development. 

What does it mean to be recognised for long service to education? 

This award signifies that my dedication and hard work within my role have been noticed. It brings a sense of accomplishment, a source of pride, and an achievement of something meaningful in my life.

Debbie's reaction to being recognised for her long service in education is like stepping into a glittering memory palace. At first, there's a twinge of "Am I really that old?" but she is genuinely pleased to be recognised for her worth and contributions to education. 

Where will you display your award?

We have decided that the award will be displayed in Meon Infant School's reception. For Debbie and me, it's more than just personal recognition; it symbolises the dedication of all teaching assistant staff at the school. It serves as an accolade to the collective effort and commitment of the entire team. 

Are you thinking about becoming a teaching assistant?

If you feel inspired by Debbie and Julie's journeys and are interested in becoming a teaching assistant in Portsmouth, visit the supporting section of our website.

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