Assembly, cake and champagne to honour ‘great team player’ Debbie’s 30 years’ service at school

A “great team player and very encouraging” teaching assistant who has worked with thousands of local children and educated many of Peckover Primary Schools’ current teachers has been thanked for 30 years’ service.

The commitment and hard work of Debbie Wate, who joined the school on 1 October 1990 and says her colleagues are like a second family, was celebrated in an assembly.

The school’s principal, Carrie Norman, organised for lots of old photos of Debbie to be beamed into classrooms so all the children could take part in the celebrations. She was also given a cake and a bottle of champagne.

Debbie said of her 30 years at Peckover: “I have worked in practically every class in the school since I started.

“I spent a lot of time working one to one with a little boy who had global developmental delay and ADHD.

“I have also had a couple of years working out of the classroom doing focused intervention work. Most of my time has been working in Key Stage 1.

“When I became a higher-level teaching assistant, I did lots of cover work throughout the school and over the last five or six years I have been based in Year 2.”

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Debbie added that, over the years, she has been “on quite a lot of amazing residentials, mainly with Year 6 children; they were tremendous fun, hugely hard work and made you very sleep deprived”.

She said one of the highlights has been the staff - or, as she puts it, “extended family” - that she has worked with: “They have all been absolutely wonderful. You don’t stay in the job for 30 years if you don’t get on with people so I have been really blessed with some amazing people.

“I have had fantastic leadership and really supportive staff that I have worked with that I have benefited hugely from. I can’t believe it has been 30 years, although it is quite scary because I remember some of our present teachers being children at school.”

Principal Carrie Norman said: “Debbie is a key part of the school. She is our first higher level teaching assistant and does a lot of teaching as well.

“She has been on the governing body for over 10 years and always goes the extra mile. She is really driven and absolutely committed to getting the best from the children.

“She’s a great team player and very encouraging to her colleagues. Debbie is like a stick of rock - Peckover runs all the way through her!”