A MEMBER of staff at a school for students with special needs has spoken of the ‘lovely evening’ that took place at last year’s Gazette Education Awards.

Karen Piper, a teaching assistant at Coppice Spring School, was given the Special Educational Needs Award at the 2018 ceremony.

Karen has been at the school for more than 25 years, and was nominated last year for her efforts at the school in engaging and helping vulnerable children.

Looking back at the evening, Karen said: “It was really lovely to be honoured - there’s been a few changes during my time at the school, I was there before it was called Coppice Spring School!

“It’s a really good team and I like working there.”

Nominations, which can come from a variety of different sources including parents at the school, fellow staff members, or even students themselves, are only open until this evening (Thursday).

Karen added: “I think that nominating people is a really good idea, and people can look forward to it [the evening].

“It is also really nice to be recognised for work that you put in.

“Even though staff don’t get into the job for rewards, it is nice to be recognised.

“It was a lovely evening, and I hope that others enjoy the evening as much as I did.”

The 12 categories available for nomination this year are: Nursery/ Primary School Teacher of the Year, Secondary School Teacher of the Year, Trainer / College Teacher of the Year, Teaching Assistant/ Support Staff Award, Leadership Award, Voluntary Contribution Award, Community Involvement Award, Innovation Award, Special Educational Needs Staff Award, Science and Technology Award, Apprentice of the Year, and the Business in Schools award.

This year’s awards ceremony will be taking place at The Apollo Hotel on July 4.

The awards, which were set up last year, are to recognise those who play a part in the learning process across the borough.

It is a chance to honour some of the tremendous work that goes on in our schools and colleges at all levels, from those who volunteer their services right up to those who provide great leadership.

In the inaugural year the awards were held, there was a huge reaction from the education sector and the community as a whole with heart-warming tales of nominees going above and beyond.

All of the awards are available to people in the educational sector in the Basingstoke and Deane area, and nominations can be made by anyone.

To make a nomination for any of the award categories, go to


and fill out the form before the evening of May 23.