TWO Sutton teachers have been recognised by the Prime Minister for their "extraordinary efforts" during the pandemic.

Teachers from Cheam Common Junior Academy were recently invited to attend a special reception at 10 Downing Street held by Boris Johnson.

Year 3 and technology leader Cheryl Shirley, and Special Needs Co-ordinator Sam Hart, were amongst just twenty school staff members from across the country invited to the event.

The Prime Minister was keen to hear about the trusts innovative programme, which involves providing personal Google Chromebooks to every KS2 child to enhance their digital skills.

To support families in need during the pandemic, LEO Academy Trust offered an additional 1,000 devices to pupils who did not have access to a laptop or tablet at home.

Your Local Guardian: Cheam Common Junior Academy Cheam Common Junior Academy

This free digital access ensured a smooth transition to remote education and enabled all children to continue learning with their teachers via live and pre-recorded lessons during lockdown.

The Chromebook programme particularly supported pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), which helped keep them engaged whilst learning from home.

As a result, LEO Academy Trust saw 100 per cent pupil engagement with its online lessons during the January lockdown.

At the reception, Boris Johnson said: “This is just a chance for us to say a small thank you to some of the teachers and people involved in education who have made a huge difference in education.

"It’s been so unfair on the whole country, but it’s been particularly unfair on young kids, on pupils, students who’ve had their education interrupted because we’ve had to protect the vulnerable from Covid, and the sacrifice has been absolutely enormous.

"Yet the teachers of this country, everybody involved in education has risen to it.”

Teacher Cheryl Shirley said: “It was wonderful to be invited to the reception at Number Ten alongside my fellow teachers from across the country, and hear the kind words of thanks and appreciation from the Prime Minister.

"Ultimately, we’re all here to support children and equip them with the skills to thrive in life, a mission that has never been more important than now during the pandemic.

"Meeting with likeminded teachers and sharing stories of everyone’s experiences during Covid-19 made it a very special day.”