A SPECIAL needs and disability co-ordinator who works at a school in Cudworth has been hailed a ‘children’s champion’ for her selflessness during school closures.

Mel Hedley from Penistone, has been working at Cherry Dale Primary School, on Royston Road, for more than three years and enjoys her role just as much as when she first started.

The 28-year-old works with students with special educational needs and disabilities who may need additional support with learning.

During the school closures, Mel ensured to visit as many students as possible from their homes to make sure they were coping well during the lockdown.

Mel insists this was all part of the job.

She said: “In my role, it’s important that all children feel they have a chance of success and I want to support them in achieving their goals.

“It was difficult for everyone going into lockdown, so I knew I had to be there for the students to help bridge the gap during the transition to home learning.

“I did regular welfare checks to pupils’ homes to check in with them and let them know we were still here for them.

“It was also a case of checking in with the parents as they need to be the best parents they can be for their children.”

Mel has praised her colleagues for their hard work during the closures and said it wouldn’t be achievable without them.

“We’re a close-knit team at Cherry Dale and supported each other during this uncertain time.

“We’re a brilliant team and we help support each other where we can. We just love our students and want to see them succeed.

“I think the trick is to love your job. I’ve woken up every day excited to go to work and support our kids.”

Parents of the children she supports have nominated Mel in the Children’s Champion category at this year’s Proud of Barnsley awards.

She said: “It’s a little bit surreal to be nominated. All I’m really doing is my job so I’m really overwhelmed.

“I love my job and those in our community who are the ones that go above and beyond.

“Thank you to those who have thought of me for this award. I can’t believe it.”