Social Learning Mentor
Do you know we have our very own full time Social Learning Mentor in school to further support children and families from nursery to Year 6?
Mrs Belinda Atkinson-Jones has worked in school since September 2014 in her lovely room (decorated with a seaside theme!)
Lots of parents have worked with her since she took up post and it is important to know you can request an appointment to meet with her if you would like some advice and/or support.
One parent who has already worked with her described her as ‘a breath of fresh air!’ A sign on her door welcomes all visitors aboard. A chat over a cuppa and a biscuit (or two) is often all we all need when we are at the end of our tether or need a ‘friendly ear’. If you need any help she would love to see you!
Belinda can be found at Breakfast Club every morning so it’s easy to arrange to meet with her by popping to the dining room door if you do not want to telephone the office. Alternatively please contact the school office to make an appointment to meet with her. Telephone- 01325 300334
'As a child and young person I was very unhappy at school. By the age of 12 years I had strongly decided that how I felt about school, made me want to carve a career path that allowed me to work with both children and their parents; with an ever open door, doing all I could to help them in every way possible.
Having worked in Durham County for 41 years I have never wished for anything more than to be happy and successful in my work! I was appointed to Sugar Hill and took up post in September 2014. In my daily work I strive to smile and raise a smile in others. To listen, to eliminate doubt and create faith. To lift up and never put down, proving there is hope in the face of despair, evaluate vulnerability and eliminate barriers. I encourage pardon where there is hurt, build on the positives and play down the negatives, raise self-esteem and self awareness. I aim to be reliable, available and approachable.
With age, comes life experience and many lessons learnt. I continue to learn. I love my work; children and their parents/carers play a big role in work, home and leisure.
A listening ear, a kind heart, make me who I am; don't be a stranger to me. I always strive for justice, fairness and respect in all I do. I work with lots of families, here at Sugar Hill, and I am always ready to meet new faces and put the kettle on! Choose a special day in school and you will find me dressed appropriately- maybe as Mrs Claus, Her Majesty the Queen or Sponge Bob Square Pants! (see photo!)
In my career I have fulfilled varied roles; all with families at the centre of all I have done.
In the early days I completed 'Nursery Nurse' training at Woodhouse Close Social Services Nursery (Bishop Auckland). This led to a role as a nanny for a baby and pet monkey! I then worked at St Wilfrid's RC Nursery in Bishop Auckland, moving on to Timothy Hackworth Nursery in Shildon. I sold Tupperware on an evening to self finance Further Education. I had never been so busy! A day job, a night job and three Further Education Courses in two years. It was at this point, that I really knew what I wanted to do!
I moved to Darlington College and worked with 16 year olds with profound disabilities- I stayed with them until they were 21; in this role I was involved with health and well being, drug administration and fund-raising to ensure the students were able to access life's little luxuries- a trip to the hairdressers, a theatre visit, a ride on the Underground Tube and bus trips to France, then Italy, a package holiday, discos- anything and everything- we opened doors that had previously been closed.
This led to a 3 month sabbatical for me, working in major cities across the world looking at educational provision for vulnerable pupils. Italy became my home for three months working with young people with special educational needs ! From someone who had felt so bad about school I was seeing first hand how educators can make a difference!
After this my journey led to Bishop Auckland College where I was appointed to the role of Lecturer in Childcare and Education. After three years I attained Senior Lecturer Status and my main teaching subject was 'Equality of Opportunity'. I was offered the fantastic opportunity to visit Nursery Provisions in America, in and around New York.
My priorities changed when we adopted our daughter and I valued time at home with her. My return to work saw a variety of roles in a variety of community settings and a longing to be making a difference to the lives of young people and their families. I found myself at Greenfield Community College as a cover supervisor and then supporting Child Care and Social Care lessons. I covered a maternity leave for a Parent Support Advisor and this led to managing Transitions for Year 6 pupils in Newton Aycliffe and surrounding areas. A role I loved!
As chance would have it, whilst undertaking a role I loved at Greenfield I heard of a fantastic opportunity to carve a new role for myself at Sugar Hill Primary. An application with all I could offer, a successful interview and then for me, the children, staff and families at Sugar Hill the rest they say is........... history..........in the making!'
Mrs Atkinson-Jones- does not always look like this!