A SPECIAL educational needs and disabilities coordinator at a York school has been nominated for a prestigious award for the support she has given to local families.

Lisa Solanki, the SENDCO at Fishergate Primary School has been put forward for a Community Pride Award, in the Public Sector Hero category.

Ms Solanki provides extra support to children with special educational needs, which could be due to a disability, mental health problems, developmental issues or a difficult home life.

She has been nominated by a parent called Claire Gibb, who said: "My own journey with the school so far has been particularly hard. My son was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in Year 1, after an agonising 18 month wait. His behaviour was so challenging that it put strain on my marriage and sadly we separated. Fishergate School was my rock during this extremely hard time, when most days we would arrive late and in tears after a morning of meltdowns. Lisa worked with us on a support plan for my son."

She says Ms Solanki coordinated "robust" Year 1 support from his teachers, along with additional autism training for staff.

"By the end of that year, we had a happy, confident child with good friends who even took a role as narrator in the Christmas show," she added.

"I am so proud and I know that we could not have achieved any of this without the unwavering dedication of his teachers, but primarily Lisa."

Ms Solanki recently started up a monthly parental support group for parents at the school to get together and discuss their children who have additional needs.

Ms Gibb commented: "Her proactive, passionate attitude drives the school where SEN is concerned which has a huge impact on the ethics and nurturing nature of Fishergate Primary School."

On being nominated, Ms Solanki said: "Claire is a wonderful parent and I'm so pleased she is happy with the support her son receives. I'm extremely touched to be nominated and for her kind words.

"I don't do a good job on my own. I'm surrounded by wonderfully compassionate, creative and commitment staff who work extremely hard to support children to be happy, independent and thriving individuals. Working closely with parents is incredibly important and underpins the ethos of our school."

The Community Pride Awards are run by The Press with City of York Council and the primary sponsor is York-based healthcare organisation Benenden. Nominees must live in, or contribute to life in the City of York Council area.

Finalists will be announced in The Press next month and they will be invited to an awards ceremony at York Racecourse in October.