Sarah Winter

Sarah – Support Teaching and Learning

15 December 2022

Our Apprenticeships offer an exciting and enjoyable route into a successful career, where Apprentices get the chance to develop hands-on experience in their industry and employers develop and mould the talents of tomorrow.

In addition to consolidating the futures of our students and their employers, our Apprenticeships have another purpose, to help local communities.

Whilst working as apprentices, our students are employed in areas local to their College, where they aim to help both their employer and the surrounding community.

Sarah Winter, a former Level 3 Supporting Teaching Apprentice knows all about going above and beyond for both her employer and community. Sarah was a key worker throughout the pandemic, as she completed her apprenticeship at Ravenfield Primary School, where she worked as a Teaching Assistant.

Before the pandemic, Sarah primarily worked through one-on-one learning with a pupil with special educational needs, but when the pandemic hit, her role changed.

Speaking about the impact of the pandemic, Sarah said: “When I got the opportunity to go into school and help out during the lockdown it felt so nice, because it felt like I was doing the right thing by supporting the children of key workers.”

“The pandemic was obviously a very tough time for everyone, but from my own point of view, it allowed me to develop professionally.

“Because of  the pandemic, I was given a lot more responsibility than perhaps I would have been given prior to the pandemic. I was tasked with taking care of a group of foundation pupils from year one and two, who were aged between four and six. I had never worked with those year groups before and it was a bit terrifying, but I learned so much doing it.”

In her new role, Sarah not only took on the responsibility of the year one and two bubble, but also kept up her duties from before the pandemic. She continued to hold one-on-one sessions with her pupil, and was a pillar of support for the family through the pandemic.

Sarah’s continued devotion to the children was epitomised in the summer of 2020, where she organised a virtual sports day for all the children at Ravenfield Primary School. The event allowed the children to send in pictures and videos of their sporting feats, as institutions such as Rotherham United FC, Rotherham Titans, Rotherham Hawks and former Premier League referee Howard Webb helped present challenges and awards.

Sarah’s wonderful work to help the children in the local community was recognised at College, as she won the RNN Training Apprentice of the Year Award.

Speaking about how it felt to receive the honour, Sarah said: “It felt absolutely amazing. It was such a shock to receive the award to be honest, because I was just doing my job. I had never looked at it as anything other than doing my job.

“I think that the child that I was working with had such a big part to play in the award. He struggled with communication and luckily I could communicate and understand him so it was so nice to feel that I could actually help make his day a bit better.”

Sarah’s Apprenticeship Assessor and Teacher at RNN Training, Amy Fleetwood was full of praise for Sarah following her time as an Apprentice.

Amy said: “It was a pleasure for me to support Sarah throughout her apprenticeship. Not only did she overcome the challenge of supporting teaching and learning during the pandemic, she also took on the added pressure of completing the newly introduced End Point Assessment as part of the Standard, with such a positive manner.

“She truly went above and beyond in her role.”

Commenting on the importance of her Apprenticeship training whilst working at Ravenfield Primary School, Sarah said: “The knowledge that we learn at College truly translates into the work that I was doing with the children.

“There are certain principles that you learn in College, such as Safeguarding, that are crucial to working with children and are things that I use everyday.

“The most valuable part of the Apprenticeship for me was going out to a teaching environment and working with the children everyday and understanding how they learn.”

Having finished her Apprenticeship, Sarah still works with primary school children and has set her sights on going to University and becoming a Special Educational Needs Coordinator.

Speaking about the future, Sarah commented: “It is thanks to my Apprenticeship that I can have this goal. My time as an Apprentice was really wonderful and Amy, my tutor, was an absolute star for me!

“As cheesy as it sounds, the Apprenticeship has really shaped me into who I am”