Bethan’s teachers listed for awards

Grateful parents are putting the national spotlight on a school for helping their daughter cope with a rare condition.

James and Kerry Satelle have nominated Ysgol Glan Gele reception class teacher Laura Martin for the Welsh Teacher of the Year award for the work she did in allowing leukodystrophy sufferer Bethan, six, to adapt to daily school life at the infants school.

The school is teaching the makaton sign language system to all pupils to allow Bethan to communicate more easily with her friends due to the limitations caused by the brain disorder. A sensory room has been introduced to aid Bethan’s development.

Classroom assistant Angela Marr has been nominated by Mr and Mrs Satelle for the assistant teacher of the year award for her work supporting Bethan in her first year at the school.

Mr Satelle said: “We went to the school Christmas concert last year. As well as being in English and Welsh, it was being performed in makaton all during the concert. It was unbelievable.

“Laura and Angela and the school generally have done so much to help Bethan, doing more than we would have ever expected. Bethan loves school and is very happy at Ysgol Glan Gele thanks to the support that has been given.”

Bethan attends Ysgol Glan Gele for three days a week and is taught at Ysgol Gogeth special school in Llandudno for the other two days.

She was diagnosed with leukodystrophy when just eight weeks old. She needs 24 hour care and has difficulty distinguishing between basics such as right and wrong and night and day, creating difficulties when navigating her way around a building. Other symptons of the condition include fits, choking on food and limited communication, although Bethan’s vocal skills are improving.

Mrs Martin said: “I was thrilled to be nominated for Teacher of the Year in Wales and am very grateful to Mr Satelle for the nomination. To be nominated by a parent is a great honour but I feel that the work I do is all part of being a teacher and ensuring the children in my care have the best possible start in life.”

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