A teaching assistant who has worked in a Derby school for almost 40 years has been named one of the top five TAs in the country and described as ‘always going the extra mile’.

Katie Brown was put forward for the Teaching Assistant of the Year Award by the head teacher of Royal School for the Deaf Derby, Helen Shepherd, for her commitment to students and their families.

She was singled out for special praise after giving up her free time to undertake medical training, including tracheotomy care, to allow some of the school’s poorly pupils the opportunity to enjoy residential trips.

Katie, who has worked at the school for 38 years, made it down to the final five in the competition, which was run by Teaching Personnel, beating off competition from hundreds of nominations.

She said: “I was absolutely staggered when I found out I’d been nominated, and I still can’t believe I made it through to the final five.

“There have been many changes at the school during the years I have been here, but it’s never a chore. Every member of staff goes above and beyond because we truly care about our pupils and we want them to succeed.”

Katie has been responsible for organising several exchange trips with deaf schools in Germany, Austria and Poland and has been helping students take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme for more than 25 years.

She is responsible for arranging work experience placements for students and has led camping trips to Paris for year 11 students and held the position of examinations officer.

Head teacher Helen Shepherd said: “Katie is loved by all at the school. She has a can-do attitude, a positive personality and a strong work ethic. She will arrive at school early to support getting ready for the day and is always one of the last staff members to leave.