Leighton Buzzard lockdown hero meets Prime Minister as thank you for popular 'English Live' lessons

Holly King Mand travelled to London for a special reception which recognised teachers who went above and beyond during the Covid-19 crisis.

By Joanna Gravett
Monday, 21st June 2021, 5:22 pm
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 5:24 pm

A Leighton Buzzard school teacher who shot to fame for hosting online English lessons during the pandemic was invited to meet the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street.

Holly King-Mand, 37, travelled to London for a special reception on Monday, June 7, which recognised teachers who went above and beyond to help pupils learn during the Covid-19 crisis.

Hardworking Holly was honoured to meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson while she also felt inspired by the other stories of classroom success.

Holly meets the Prime Minister. Photo: 10 Downing Street.

Holly said: "It was wonderful. It was really, really, nice. There were about 20 teachers from across the UK and they had all made some sort of contribution to the pandemic response.

"It was a privilege and it was nice to share with him [Mr Johnson] what I'd been doing.

"I'd already received a letter from him thanking me for my contribution and now I could hear his reactions first hand.

"He was astonished at how many followers I'd attracted in such a short time at the start of the lockdown, and intrigued at how learning can be transformed."

Holly and the other teachers meet Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: 10 Downing Street.

Holly added: "He made lots of jokes, as you can imagine.

"He was five minutes late and said: 'I have been on the telephone to, oh gosh what's his name, the French President - Macron!'

"He made us laugh with that and other funny comments."

Last year, Holly launched her free ‘English Live’ classes on YouTube to help pupils and parents with homeschooling, which attracted eager learners from all across the globe.

Holly enjoyed her special day at No.10. Photos: Holly King-Mand.

She continued holding the free lessons during the subsequent lockdowns, and also launched her new online teaching business, English with Holly: Holly's Classroom, offering courses and workshops.

Speaking about the teachers she met at the ceremony, Holly told the LBO: "There was the gentlemen who had set up Oak Academy, which is an online school with pre-recorded lessons, while one of the teachers had badgered his local Currys to provide laptops to disadvantaged children.

"It was really inspiring!"

Holly herself received the Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily Points of Light award in May 2020, while she was also named as a ‘Hero of 2020’ by children's magazine The Week Junior.

Meanwhile, the dedicated teacher is also mum to three girls - Willow, three, Peony, one, and baby Eliza - and Holly was allowed to use the state dining room to pump Eliza's night feed ready to take home.

Holly said: "They are really supporting women in government who want to work but also have families.

"And I was happy to know that there was a swing in the garden - it's a reminder that it [no.10] is also a family home as well as a government office."

Looking to the future, Holly is launching a summer programme about letter writing, and will be offering free places for children from disadvantaged backgrounds on her courses in September.

As for the Prime Minister, Holly said: "He gave an impassioned speech about how he wants to invest heavily in girls' education, which as a woman with three daughters, I was pleased to hear.

"Eliza's middle name is Duleep, named after the only Sikh suffragette; we're hoping she will lead from the front!"

If you would like to find out more about Holly's online lessons, visit: https://hollysclassroom.com/