Leighton Buzzard teacher receives Prime Minister's award for lockdown lessons which have captured the world's imagination
An English teacher from Leighton Buzzard who is providing free daily lessons online for children at home will today receive Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily Points of Light award, following National Thank a Teacher Day.
Holly King-Mand started hosting live 30-minute sessions on Facebook at the start of lockdown to help parents who are home-schooling for children aged 7-14 by covering basic subjects such as spelling and grammar.
Within days, her following increased from just 74 to over 20,000 people worldwide and now has an international audience of more than 40,000, with families viewing from Dubai, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Cyprus, Germany and more.
Writing to Holly yesterday, the Prime Minister said: “Every day I take a moment to say thank you to someone in our country for their service to others by recognising them as a Point of Light in our lives.
“So on National Thank a Teacher Day, I wanted to write to thank you for the ingenuity with which you have captured the imaginations of thousands, supporting parents managing home-schooling and helping to educate children from across four continents.
“As our country comes together to win this battle with coronavirus, I am lost in admiration for the courage and dedication of our teachers – from those in the classroom looking after the children of other critical workers, to those like you who have helped to reimagine education for the online world.”
Reacting to the Prime Minister’s announcement, Holly, 36, said: “I’m absolutely flabbergasted to have won a Points of Light award!
“I feel privileged to have reached and inspired so many learners and their families around the world during these strange times. I’ve enjoyed every moment of teaching in this new way. Thank you so much for recognising my efforts.”
Looking back on launching the initiative, Holly added: “I could see everyone else in Leighton Buzzard offering to help their neighbours and setting up these wonderful Facebook groups to collect prescriptions or shopping, and I just thought ‘What I can I do?’
“I was just coming to the end of my maternity leave and decided to offer English lessons. I thought, ‘If any child wants to do English, or if their parents want to have a cup of tea while their children are taught by a qualified teacher, then I can help.’
“I posted it on a few mum groups, and then it just spiralled out of control!”
Holly has been filming her English lessons at 11am on weekdays, and students can tune in live or catch up whenever suits them.
Holly laughed: “I’m filming it all on an iPad that my children used and I have an old clipboard attached to a lamp for worksheets.
“My dog Bertie is also in the background. It’s not a professional or slick outfit.
“I’ll probably get an Amazon delivery half way through soon!”
However, despite Holly’s modesty, pupils and parents across the globe are full of praise for Holly, and can’t wait to share their work on the Facebook page.
One parent wrote this message to Holly on Facebook: “Fantastic! My 8-year-old daughter Lily really loved your Romeo and Juliet lesson! She tunes in every day and really enjoys your lessons, thank you for taking the time to be her teacher.”
Holly has previously taught at Leighton Middle School and Acton High School, Ealing, and after the lockdown ends she is considering starting online tutorials.
Her live lessons have recently been featured on BBC1, ITV, Channel 5 and have featured in NEU Educate and The Week Junior.
Holly shares her home (and classroom!) with partner, Indie, and young daughters Willow and Peony.
Holly said: “The brain is a muscle and you’ve got to keep it moving - I’m hoping my students will be in a good position when they go back to school.”
Students and parents can visit the Facebook page ‘English Live Resources’ and download a PDF for each lesson. There are six different tasks for all different abilities and learning styles.
Once students have completed their tasks, their family are welcome to take some photos of their work and post them on the Facebook page.
Visit: ‘English With Holly’ on YouTube (where the live video will be streamed).
> The Prime Minister’s UK daily Points of Light award was first launched in April 2014 to recognise outstanding individuals making a difference where they live. Holly is the 1,377th person to be recognised. As Britain unites to fight the spread of coronavirus, the award is focusing exclusively on people serving their community through the pandemic.