A Cheshire headteacher has been nominated for a School Superhero award after her efforts to support a child with autism during the pandemic.
Zoe Carciero, who is headteacher at Clutton C of E Primary School, near Chester, was nominated for the award by Kate Gostling, mum of 8 year old Xavier who attends the school:
“Xavier started at Clutton in January 2020, just a few weeks before the first lockdown and Mrs Carciero has done everything she possibly could to make Xavier feel settled. Xavier’s autism is sensory based. He has anxiety about school, can struggle with noise, eating in front of others and also finds change hard, so starting at a new school then having to move to home learning was difficult for him.
“When it was time to return to school, Mrs Carciero worked with me to put a plan in place to make it easier for Xavier to adjust, such as enabling Xavier to come into school through the front entrance so it’s quieter for him and arranging a quiet place for him to eat lunch. He started back to school part time to begin with and Mrs Carciero arranged funding so Xavier could have one to one support at school.
“Xavier has struggled with making friendships in the past, but Mrs Carciero has put activities in place to help Xavier form those friendships, which have made such a difference to him. Part of Xavier’s anxiety means he needs to know what he’s doing that day and Clutton are fantastic at communicating that to him. They also introduced a communications book where I can write down anything that is affecting him that day, and his teachers can do the same.
“All of the staff and teachers at Clutton are so nice. Lockdown was really hard but the teachers always messaged to see how Xavier was getting on, we had work dropped around to the house and Mrs Baines would ring me every week. The school did an outdoor learning week and Xavier won an award for his bug hotel, it might seem like a small thing but it meant the world to him. The best thing about Clutton is how caring everyone is. Each staff member knows Xavier and understands him and his needs.”
School Superheroes is a national campaign by Scottish fintech Miconex where families can nominate their school superheroes who have made a positive contribution to their school community. One school superhero will receive a £50 Town and City Gift Card for their choice of over 60 schemes around the UK and Ireland, including the Chester Gift Card, with their school or class receiving a £250 cash prize.
The Chester Gift Card can be spent with over 110 businesses in the city, including shops, cafés, attractions, restaurants, salons and more, and launched in November 2020 as part of Chester Business Improvement District’s (BID) battleplan to support high street shops from the effects of lockdown.
Carl Critchlow from Chester BID said: “We’ve seen local leadership in schools go above and beyond their responsibilities to keep kids engaged with education throughout the pandemic. It’s fantastic to take part in this School Superheroes campaign and to facilitate the Chester Gift Card as a way to say thank you to that special someone at school.”
Multi-store gift cards like the Chester Gift Card have grown in popularity over recent years, representing 36.3% of gift cards purchased in January 2021. Consumer desire to support local businesses has also impacted the industry, with 41.6% buying gift cards to support companies they like.
Mrs Carciero, who is also headteacher at Little Sutton C of E Primary School in Cheshire, part of The Samara Trust, joined the Trust in January 2020. Kate added:
“Even though Mrs Carciero is headteacher of two schools, she knows each child in school really well. She has always been there, ready to listen to me as a parent and nothing is too much trouble. Xavier has really changed since he started at Clutton. He used to cry and try to hide before school but now he gets up and gets ready for school. Mrs Carciero has done so much to help Xavier and our family too. I can now send him to school knowing he is happy and that makes such a difference to his life, and our life as a family too. I can’t thank Mrs Carciero enough.”
All school superheroes are eligible to be nominated for an award, including teachers, teaching assistants, catering/lunchtime staff, administration teams, caretakers, coaches and volunteers. Families can nominate a school superhero up to 31st August 2021 by visiting https://townandcitygiftcards.com/schoolsuperhero
Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex and said the School Superheroes campaign is a chance to thank school staff and be in with a chance of winning a local prize that supports the community:
“The School Superheroes campaign is designed to celebrate those working in schools like Mrs Carciero, who are making an immense difference to children’s lives day in and day out. What can seem like a small action, like taking the time to listen, making a phone call home or arranging a place for a child to eat lunch where they feel comfortable, can have a profound difference in a child’s life, as we have seen with Xavier’s story. We look forward to receiving more School Superhero nominations from Cheshire announcing our winning School Superhero on the 3rd September.”
Published 2nd July 2021