Teacher of the Year 2015: an interview with Linda Alliband

For the second year running BTSA has been the proud sponsor of the Signal Radio Pride in the Community Teacher of the Year Award.

We spoke to this year’s winner Linda Alliband from Oakhill Primary.

Can you tell us a little about your background and previous experience?

I began as a parent helper at Oakhill Primary School in 1994 and have been there ever since! Right from the beginning as a volunteer, I was working with children with SEND delivering short interventions. I was then employed as a T.A. for six years and had the opportunity to work throughout the school. In Sept 1999, I became one of Stoke’s first graduate teachers, qualifying in July 2000. I have had a number of roles in the school, eventually joining the leadership team in 2008. I have always had a strong interest in SEND and became SENCo in 2011.

Who nominated you for the award and for what reason?

A parent of a pupil with complex health and educational needs nominated me. She felt I had gone above and beyond in ensuring her son received an accurate assessment of needs and appropriate provision. We negotiated the process for obtaining an EHC naming special school together and also the process of finding a placement where her son’s needs could be met. Anyone who is involved in such a process will know that it is a long arduous road, particularly if a child has an unusual mix of needs.

A worthy reason indeed. How did you feel on the night?

It felt a bit unreal but also very emotional. Often a SENCo is an unsung hero whose work goes under the radar. I am OK with that and it was strange yet thrilling to have recognition of my efforts.  There was no acceptance speech but I would have said that not enough people realise that working with children with SEND is actually a privilege.

Absolutely! Do you have any advice for colleagues entering the profession or thinking of leaving teaching?

I would say you must be clear about why you want to become a teacher. If you do not have strong intrinsic motivation, you will find parts of your role extremely difficult to manage. If you are thinking of leaving, I would say, remember why you became a teacher, and if necessary find a role where you can be that person.


Thanks for speaking to us Linda. Good luck with continuing the incredible job you are doing.

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