SCHOOL leaders who support children with complex needs have been praised for going ‘above and beyond’ for their pupils during the lockdowns.

Springwell Learning Community, on St Helen’s Boulevard, has been nominated for a Proud of Barnsley award for offering free school meals to every single student, regardless of if they are eligible, as well as new uniforms for new starters during the pandemic.

The school has also been praised for visiting students during the lockdown, providing essential foods and items and delivering them to families who need a boost.

Throughout the pandemic, the school has remained open for any pupil who needs to come and receive additional support in a bid to support families.

Last year, staff at the school were praised for offering coronavirus test kits to families who struggled to get access to them in the hope pupils would return to the school.

Danny Ross, the head of school, has said the team effort from teachers, staff, parents and pupils was key to tackling this pandemic.

“Like all schools, this last year has been a real challenge for us to keep our students learning and supported.

“Our children have special educational needs and so need a sense of normality and routine as much as possible – which has been difficult to establish.

“However, it was so important to use to put our children and their families first and make sure they were supported during a difficult time, because ultimately we want everyone back again as soon as we can.

“We’ve had to change the way we operate for safety reasons including doing parents evening briefings over FaceTime and maintaining social distancing at all times.

“Members of our fantastic pastoral team made regular phone calls and door visits to our families so we never felt too distant, even making food donations whilst in lockdown.”

The school’s efforts have landed them a nomination for School of the Year at this year’s Proud of Barnsley awards.

“I’m so proud of our entire team who have really pulled together to make this happen. Our pastoral team have invaluable this past year so it’ll mean a lot to them too.

“We’ll continue to put out pupils first and work towards reuniting properly as soon as we can.”