Dean’s top marks for school work

Dean Millar (front centre) with his Norman from Norham character, joined by representatives from Teaching Personnel and pupils from the school.

Dean Millar (front centre) with his Norman from Norham character, joined by representatives from Teaching Personnel and pupils from the school.

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A teaching assistant has earned national praise for his dedication to raising aspirations and achievement.

Dean Millar was shortlisted from 5,000 nominees for his work with pupils at Norham High School, in North Shields, as part of Teaching Personnel’s Teaching Assistant of the Year award.

The awards recognise the positive impact teaching assistants have in schools, supporting teachers, pupils and parents.

Dean’s imaginative approach to supporting the school caught the judge’s attention, particularly his idea to create a fictional character called Norman who helps pupils to understand what is expected of them in school.

The Norman from Norham character has since developed into an animated character who stars in his own short film about success, which will be shown to pupils for the first time this week.

Dean has been responsible for a number of initiatives to raise aspirations and achievement including photography mentoring for Year 11 pupils to help boost their GCSE art portfolios, improvements to teaching spaces and the development of a popular school photography club.

He also supported an art project at North Shields’ Fish Quay to help young people express their hopes for the future.

Executive headteacher David Baldwin said: “Dean works incredibly hard across a range of subjects and key stages and has played a vital role in raising aspirations and attainment across the school, particularly in the art faculty.”

“He regularly and freely gives up his own time after school to support pupils and the wider school and has a real can-do, positive attitude.

“In addition, his calm, persuasive and considered manner with pupils, especially those with complex social and emotional difficulties, is inspirational.

“He really deserves this recognition for his dedication, hard work and commitment to helping our pupils be their very best.”

Dean was presented with his award by Rebecca Smith from Teaching Personnel Ltd.

Rebecca added: “We were really impressed by the nomination made for Dean.

“Particularly his work surrounding Norman and his commitment to the schools’ ethos. What further impressed us more was his rapport with the students that he worked with.”