This message is for: Nicola Kukuni HLTA nomination for Bryn Y Deryn Pupil Referral Unit
from Ellie Williams

Nicola Kukuni HLTA nomination for Bryn Y Deryn Pupil Referral Unit
Nic is unmatched in making learners feel secure and important. She respects and values everyone (learners and colleagues) as individuals. Every learner has 1:1 induction sessions with Nic when they arrive here, and she completes all of their academic assessments and feeds back all relevant information to teaching staff, often adding suggested support strategies from her own extensive experience. She compiles individual differentiation packs for learners who require them, to help ensure that their learning needs are met when she cannot be present. Nic uses this information to compile learners’ person-centred learner profiles (PCLPs), which are then used by all staff to provide individually tailored support.
Learners also turn to Nic for support with their emotional health and wellbeing. She is often the first-person learners in crisis will talk to, and she drops everything else on her schedule to remain with them until she (and they) are sure they are safe. She is in constant contact with CAMHS and other outside agencies to determine what help learners are currently receiving, and are due to receive in the future, and she is extremely diligent in reporting this back to parents, ensuring they understand every step of the process. She also fills out all of the neurodevelopmental referrals for learners, and supports parents who are unsure how to fill in their sections. Nic supports parents who are on a low income, and investigates whether they are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to. She writes letters in support of application, and helps parents complete the necessary forms where appropriate.
Nic organised and ran our summer school sessions for 3 weeks over the holidays this year. Every member of staff who worked with her praised her incredible organisation skills and attention to detail; Nic would be the one polishing the cutlery and setting the tables, complete with floral centrepieces. All learners who attended had a fantastic time, and the new learners who have since joined the school officially, reported that one of the reasons their September induction period has gone so smoothly is the accepting, positive, fun atmosphere they experienced over the course of Nic’s summer school.
Nic has supported our most anxious learners by teaching them to use buses, and accompanying them until they have gained confidence to travel alone. In previous years she has taken this one step further and accompanied groups of learners to the centre of town at the weekend so that they could socialise outside of the school environment, whilst still feeling safe and supported.
Nic’s tireless work also has an impact on learner attendance and engagement. One learner (who scored very low on receptive and social language in baseline assessments, and has experienced severe trauma) also had extremely low attendance. Nic organised a meeting with the learner’s parents, and devised strategies to support her attendance and progress at school. She worked 1:1 with the learner for two full days, and when her confidence had grown sufficiently, she then started to re-integrate her into mainstream classes, attending with her to provide support initially. Nic runs interventions like this, tailored to the individual’s needs, so regularly that she no longer appreciates just how significant an impact it has.
If a member of staff ever needs or wants a book/resource to support a learner, we visit Nic’s office. Her shelves are packed with her own copies of books, ranging from supporting learners with dyslexia to what life is like as a woman with ASD. Whenever she has read or found something that might be useful she seeks out a relevant member of staff to share it with them. Nic has run Talkabout sessions with learners, and also trained staff to be able to deliver these sessions with confidence. She disseminates her CPD training to teaching staff and TAs on a range of topics.
Nic spends every break and lunchtime with the learners, walking around the entire site to ensure that no learner is alone or in need of support. She does a similar thing for staff members, and is the first to take you aside to check on staff wellbeing. Despite having significant responsibility at home, this never affects her professionalism or dedication to her role.