Jackie has always wanted to help children with their problems

Jackie Neal (centre) is pictured with members of the school council,  Leo Marshall, Sophie Turner-Guest, Ben Walsh and  Aleasha Rose Glen
Jackie Neal (centre) is pictured with members of the school council, Leo Marshall, Sophie Turner-Guest, Ben Walsh and Aleasha Rose Glen

While working as a teaching assistant Jackie Neal realised school children needed someone to talk to about their problems and worries.

Jackie, 54, has been in her current position of Pastoral Care Officer for approximately eight years.

Jackie said: “When I worked in school as a teaching assistant, I realised that children needed someone to talk to about their problems and worries.

“I realised there were often times when staff didn’t have the time to listen in a busy classroom environment.

“Some children were having difficulties and I wanted to help them have a positive start to their day and for them to feel that someone was able to listen to their problems, and make a difference if I could.”

Jackie trained in 2000 with a Lincolnshire Healthy Schools initiative for children with anxiety, self-esteem and confidence issues.

Funding then became available in school, to train a member of staff, in a full time role of mentoring, safeguarding, increasing self-esteem and confidence in children and she applied for the position and was successful.

She said: “I face many challenges in my role. It is sometimes frustrating that I want to help but there isn’t the outside funding to do so.

“If this is the case, I will do my best to try and get help from another source; wanting to prevent barriers to learning and have happy children.”

Jackie says another challenge is staying strong when she hears something sad.

She said: “It is very rewarding to know you have made a big difference to children and some of their families. To see children, smile, laugh, grow in confidence and self-esteem, is very rewarding.

“Also breaking down any barriers to learning they may have and building a relationship with children, so they know they have an adult they can come and talk to in school.”

Jackie says her role in Pastoral Care came along as a but of a surprise.

She said: “I was always a good listener and wanted to help children with their problems so when funding came through for the role it was great and I got the job.”

Jackie says her biggest achievement has been working at White’s Wood Academy for around 20 years.

She said: “And being able to make a difference to children’s learning, wellbeing, self-esteem and confidence.”

During her time in her current role Jackie says it has developed over the years.

She said: “I now support children and their families. I am passionate in working with them and identifying any help which they may need.

“I then liaise with other schools, the school nursing team, local PCSO’s, West Lindsey District Abuse Service, Surestart, Homestart, Social Worker’s, Addaction, Grief and Loss Service and Early Help Workers.

“I am also supporting our lovely new school Castle Wood Academy in my Pastoral role.”

Jackie comes from a small family and is an only child.

She now has a son, Daniel, who is 29-years-old and a daughter, Sophie, who is 26-years-old.

She said: “Daniel works as a Football Coach in San Jose, California and Sophie works as an Accounts Administrator and lives in Gainsborough.”

Jackie has lived in Gainsborough all her life.

She attended Heapham Road Infant School, Charles Baines Primary School and Middlefield Lane Secondary School.

She said: “When I left school, I did factory work until I was 25, when I had my son. I was a stay at home mum until my daughter was around six.

“I then worked at Heapham Road School for a short time and was a parent helper at White’s Wood Lane Junior School. I was then offered a temporary role of 1:1 assistant and then a teaching assistant role for around 12 years and then I became pastoral Care Officer and I have been here ever since.”