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National recognition for Wiltshire teaching staff at Number 10

Two members of staff from The Mead Trust travelled to London on Thursday (15 July) to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson in recognition of their contribution to Early Years education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published 20 July 2021
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Two members of staff from The Mead Trust travelled to London on Thursday (15 July) to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson in recognition of their contribution to Early Years education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs Karen Austin, Headteacher at River Mead School in Melksham, and Mrs Jayne Ogborne, Nursery Teaching Assistant at The Mead Primary School in Trowbridge, were nominated for their sterling work.

Mrs Lyssy Bolton, CEO of the Trust, said "Jayne is imaginative and child-centered. The children love her positive, playful approach. She is always coming up with new and exciting ideas to launch their curiosity and imagination. Her resourceful practice made lockdown fun - she provided lots of covid-safe water play, such as washing babies and clothes, driving vehicles through paint then washing them afterwards. She worked throughout holidays (and on bank holidays) to support vulnerable children and enabled critical NHS workers to undertake their duties, able to leave their children safe and happy. Her nurturing and grounded approach inspires confidence in parents and carers.

Meanwhile, Karen opened River Mead School (including nursery) every day for vulnerable children and children of critical workers - including holidays and bank holidays - with her school staff working on a rota. Learning packs and craft boxes were hand delivered to children at home by Karen with cheery messages. She coordinated a mammoth effort to pack and personally deliver beautiful food parcels to children, whilst children in school were provided breakfast and a hot meal, which sometimes meant Karen cooking in the school kitchen; everyone loves spaghetti Bolognese and pineapple upside down cake - even when it's a bit crispy round the edges! The River Mead team effort, coordinated by Karen, to support each and every child to be safe and have happy and memorable learning experiences has been relentlessly optimistic and determined - her selfless contribution inspires."

Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children's Services said: "Our schools and early years settings have worked incredibly hard for our children and pupils during the challenging times of the pandemic. Congratulations to Karen and Jayne for their hard work and dedication and for achieving this recognition which is well deserved."

On arrival at Downing Street, Jayne and Karen were able to 'bump elbows' with Vicky Ford, the Children and Families Minister, before heading through to a garden party hosted by Boris Johnson. They met the Prime Minister, and shared with him personally their stories of working in their schools over the last 16 months. Karen said "It was a wonderful way to celebrate the achievements of all of our staff - they have all worked so hard, and contributed so much, I am incredibly proud to be here and represent each and every one of them."

The Mead Academy Trust comprises The Mead Community Primary School (with sites in Hilperton and Wingfield), Castle Mead School in Trowbridge and River Mead School in Melksham.  Lyssy Bolton is the CEO of the Trust. More information can be found at The Mead Trust.

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Published 20 July 2021