A ‘LIFE-changing’ Christchurch teaching team has picked up a national award.

Christchurch-based Futures has won a Certificate of Excellence in the Pearson National Teaching Awards.

The Futures programme is operated by leading charity Autism Unlimited and empowers neurodiverse people aged 18-25 to fulfil their potential and become active in their local communities.

The Pearson National Teaching Awards, known as the ‘Oscars of the teaching profession’, attract thousands of nominations each year.

Futures also received a personal thanks from the acclaimed children’s author Sir Michael Morpurgo.

In a personal letter to the team, Sir Morpurgo said: “The work you do – day in, day out – is life-enhancing, life-changing. You open doors, shine a light. You spend your working life passing on to children, all that you know and love. Bravo you.”

Futures received the news it had won its award on June 19 - National Thank a Teacher Day.

Tilly Larment, Futures manager, said: “We are all immensely proud to receive this award, for us, the team, and for all our learners.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that Futures is life-changing for our learners and their families.

“Many young people have come to us having struggled in traditional education environments.

“At Futures they flourish both personally and professionally, gaining the confidence to travel independently, to form friendships, socialise and discover talents and fulfilling career pathways.

“We are thankful to the Autism Unlimited charity for enabling us to do what we do, and this award will drive us further forward, to support as many young people as possible to reach their full potential."