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Posted on Jun 19 2024 by Fiona Bailey

An Assistant Headteacher who has dedicated nearly 40 years to teaching has been presented with a lifetime achievement award.

Melanie Dixon, started at St Andrew’s Healthcare in 1989 as a teacher for the Brain Injury Unit and then progressed onto to being the Assistant Headteacher for St Andrew’s Healthcare’s College, which is part of the Hospital’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

On Wednesday. June 19, which is National Thank a Teacher Day, she was presented with a Lifetime Achievement certificate from the Pearson Teaching Awards, in recognition of her commitment to the profession.

St Andrew’s College Headteacher, Peter Rainford said: “Mel has devoted nearly 40 years of her career to working at the hardest end of the mental health system, supporting children who require inpatient support for their complex mental health needs.

“She’s seen a lot of changes in that time but has adapted to ensure all students within her care receive the very best education that is available to them. Mel started out as a primary school teacher and she has become well known for her attention to detail and passion for her role.

“Mel realised early on in her career that she wanted to work within Special Educational Needs (SEN) which is why she moved to St Andrew's College. Mel has been instrumental in the success of the service both in terms of being a highly rated school throughout, but also in the outcomes for the learners and their journey through care. She is the most compassionate person I have ever met and her calm, patient support for the learners is what makes her so special.”

Mel said: “It was such an honour to be recognised by the team and the Pearson Teaching Awards, but to be honest, I’m just doing my job. I feel it’s a real privilege to work with the young people in our college. Many of our learners are significantly unwell and think education is almost impossible for them to engage with, but that’s where we come in. We show them that everyone can be educated, we just do it in a different way.

“Working in mental health is challenging and can be hard to sustain for long periods because it is often heart wrenching and upsetting to see the challenges our young people face in life, but it is also incredibly rewarding. I’m also very fortunate to work within such a fantastic team, who all care deeply for our students and both their health and educational outcomes.”