A popular North Tyneside Teaching Assistant has been honoured with a top national award.
Dawn Watts, who works at Western Primary School in Wallsend, fought off stiff competition from thousands of nominees across the country to win the highly prestigious silver National Teaching Assistant of the Year award.
She will now go for gold to become the overall winner nationally.
Dawn was nominated by her colleagues for the special contribution she makes to the school and her role in the development of the children she works with.
A small surprise celebration event attended by other members of school staff, governors, friends and family was held where Dawn was presented with the award by North Tyneside’s Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE.
Dawn said: “I’m in absolute shock of what’s happened. We’re preparing for the Olympics in class so I thought I was coming outside to do an Olympic dance, which didn’t happen!
“I think it’s amazing. I don’t think I would have won if it wasn’t for the team. They’re absolutely gorgeous and so are the kiddies so everyone’s won really.”
Acting Head Teacher Sarah Dixon said: “We’re all ecstatic, over the moon, thrilled and so honoured that Dawn is a member of our team. It’s such a huge accolade for her.”
Colleague and Teacher Vicky Rowson, who nominated Dawn, added: “I've been a teacher for 20 years and she's just the most amazing member of staff I've ever worked with.
“She has inspired me and she's amazing with children and I am so much the better teacher because of her.”
Elected Mayor Norma Redfearn CBE said: “I've been told by many, many people, parents, children and teachers, what an outstanding person she is. What an outstanding teacher she is.
“And it's just a joy to know that we have the quality of staff at schools here in North Tyneside, to win a national award like that. This is quite something.”