Portsmouth’s education superstars shine bright at awards ceremony

The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress, and Teach Portsmouth staff standing on the Guildhall steps with award winners.

The city’s education workforce came together to celebrate two decades of service at an awards ceremony held at Portsmouth Guildhall.

Teach Portsmouth, a Portsmouth City Council service, organised the event, as part of two initiatives that reward and recognise staff in the city’s schools and academies.

87 people from primary, secondary and special schools were put forward by their peers to attend an afternoon tea and awards ceremony.

Mike Stoneman, deputy director, education at Portsmouth City Council said “School staff across the city play an important role in helping children and young people learn. For those who have worked for two decades or more, it’s important to pause and reflect on the impact they’ve made on those they’ve taught and supported during that time.

“The long service to education event has been an absolute success, allowing us to recognise the professionals in Portsmouth’s schools who have made a real difference over two decades in the lives of children, young people and families. I would like to thank everyone for everything you do.”

City leaders were joined by Nys Hardingham, CEO at Salterns Academy Trust and Jennese Alozie, CEO at the University of Chichester Academy Trust who co-sponsored the event.

Mike Stoneman, Deputy Director, Education, speaking in front of the crowd
Mike Stoneman, Deputy Director, Education

Rob Jones, head teacher at Stamshaw Junior School, attended the event with his colleague Michelle Jones. Rob has been a head teacher and deputy head teacher for the last 20 years. He started his career working in summer camps in South Africa before moving to the UK where he began teaching. He has been a head teacher at Stamshaw Junior School for five years.

Rob said “Teaching has been my passion since a young age from when I worked at holiday camps in South Africa for under privileged children. After thirty years in the profession, some of which I undertook in South Africa, I can honestly say that I have loved every moment.

“I have been working at Stamshaw Junior School for five years, as the headteacher, and in Portsmouth for 20 years. The city has such a wonderful community of education superstars – I’m very lucky to be part of it.

“I have been fortunate to work with outstanding individuals who have helped me along on my journey. The long service celebration and awards ceremony was recognition for me as it was for them.”


Long service award recipients at award giving

Lisa Adams, a special educational needs and disabilities co-ordinator (SENCO) at Devonshire Infant School celebrated her team’s achievements at the trophy giving.

Lisa joined Devonshire Infant School as a teaching assistant. Before this, she had worked as a nursery manager but wanted to teach primary aged children. After qualifying as a teacher at the school, she progressed to become an inclusion centre manager, supporting children with special needs.

Lisa said “I didn’t realise how quickly time flies but it certainly has. The last 20 years in education has taught me how important it is to challenge yourself. There are so many rewards when working with children with special educational needs and disabilities – it’s difficult to list them all.

“My main one is knowing that you’ve helped a child take a step towards a more independent life. The children I work with have many challenges – so the smallest spark of progress is a wonderful feeling.”

Everyone enjoying afternoon tea web

Johannes Wessels, deputy head teacher at Langstone Junior Academy joined his three colleagues Suzan Phillips, Faye Sexton and Stephne Wessels at the event.

Johannes has worked across Portsmouth for two decades. Originally working at The Victory Primary School as a year six teacher and attendance and behaviour lead. For the last 13 years, he has worked at Langstone Junior School.

Johannes said “I can’t quite believe I am now celebrating two decades in education but it’s certainly been an incredible experience. Since becoming deputy head teacher 11 years ago, I have had the pleasure of working with different teams who support our children in unique ways.

“Education might have changed over the years but our aspirations for children have not. I am proud of what we have achieved and continue to achieve every day. This event cements that, and acknowledges the hard work we all put in, to ensure pupils thrive.”

During the ceremony, it was announced that the Teach Portsmouth Awards will return to Portsmouth Guildhall on Thursday 12 June 2025.

The south’s largest education awards ceremony for the profession celebrates school and college staff across the city in 12 award categories.

For more information on Teach Portsmouth and the event, please visit www.teachportsmouth.co.uk/celebrates.