Dagenham’s Jo Richardson School teaching assistant shortlisted for prestigious teaching award

Teaching assitant Sue Richardson with some of her students

Teaching assitant Sue Richardson with some of her students - Credit: Archant

An education worker described as the “lifeblood of the school” has been shortlisted for a prestigious teaching award after two decades working in the borough.

Teaching award nominee Sue Richardson

Teaching award nominee Sue Richardson - Credit: Archant

Sue Richardson, senior lead mentor at Jo Richardson School, Dagenham, said she was “humbled” at hearing she had been named as a finalist at the Pearson Teaching Awards – considered to be the Oscars of the education industry.

The former driving instructor turned to teaching in 1994 and first worked at The Warren School, in Chadwell Heath, before being part of the small group that help set up Jo Richardson in 2002.

She said she cares deeply about her job, which involves working with the school’s more vulnerable pupils.

“I love my job – no two days are the same. I could have retired two years ago but I didn’t want to,” said the 62-year-old.

“I always enjoy coming to school and at the end of the day I do my job because I care. Because when you see somebody that has a problem or an issue and you see them come through, it makes it all worthwhile.”

But she added she couldn’t fulfil her role without the hard work and support of her colleagues and insisted all of them deserved recognition.

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Ms Richardson was nominated by Year 13 student Georgia Barnes and had to go through a series of interviews and observations before being announced as a finalist.


A representative from the awards also spoke with former and current students, as well as parents, to paint a full picture of her impact on those passing through the school.

Jo Richardson School headteacher Ges Smith, who has worked with Sue for 12 years, said she “can’t be replaced”.

He added: “She is the real lifeblood of the school. Within the borough she has had a major impact on peoples’ lives and it’s a privilege to work with people like Sue.”

Finalists will find out if they have won on May 16.