A teaching assistant who picked up the learning bug helping pupils find out about creepy crawlies and plants has been handed a national award.
Patricia Carr, better known to her pupils as Patsy, had given up hours of her own time to set up her pride an joy – an outdoor learning space at Anchorsholme Academy.
And her amazing work has earned her a Silver Award in the Teaching Assistant of the Year category of the Pearson Teaching Awards.
Patsy, 42, from Crescent Avenue, Cleveleys is the school’s outdoor learning lead and spent part of the summer holidays creating a special space for the children she is so passionate about.
“I give up my time because I love what I do.
“We were in there for two weeks in the summer.
“We felled a 35 foot tree, we created a seated area with logs.
“At home we talk about the Anchorsholme family and it really is like that.”
Patsy joined the school in 2013 as a lunchtime welfare assistant before getting her dream job in the classroom.
Her new outdoor role was created last year and she admits it’s been a learning curve for herself as much as the pupils.
“All my plants at home are plastic,” she joked.
“I started this knowing nothing but I’m learning with the pupils. If we don’t know about something we talk about it, we go away and look it up. It’s fantastic because you’re able to teach them about trees and wildlife.
“Pupils are afraid of spiders because they don’t know anything about them, they might not know what a woodlouse is.
“We’re learning as we go.”
Patsy, who has her own children at the school, was presented with the award in a special assembly.
“I knew nothing,” she said.
“All of a sudden there’s this lovely silver trophy and all the children were cheering. Some were in tears, so was I.”
Headteacher Graeme Dow hailed Patsy’s contribution.
He said: “She is quite simply the most genuinely enthusiastic colleague I have ever had the pleasure to work with.”
Patsy has been invited to the National Teaching Awards at London’s Guildhall in October.
At the ceremony, due to be broadcast by the BBC, 10 of the 55 silver award winners will be handed Gold Plato Awards.