Matt Jenkins and Jo Fison
  • The Lockdown Hero Award for Learner and Community Support
  • Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education
  • Exeter, Devon

Matt Jenkins is an enthusiastic teacher with a wealth of innovative ideas, applying solutions to difficulties commonly faced by deaf learners and able to ‘think out of the box’ to ensure solutions are workable and meaningful. Driven by a desire to ensure that deaf learners had equal access to information and learning around COVID, Matt developed the popular ‘Ask a Deaf Teacher’ YouTube channel, developing online resources in sign language that were fun, engaging and accessible to all deaf children and young people. This was central to the development and delivery of the school’s Online Academy to draw out potential in students and ensure full engagement to learning while recognising the challenges faced by deaf students in accessing learning online.   

Jo Fison is an experienced teacher who ensured that online platforms were sign language friendly, able to stream sign language efficiently and clearly, and considered well-being at the heart of all delivery. She ensured online platforms were accessible to all, even those who had not grown up within the digital age, giving up much of her time, to lead, to hand-hold and to cajole staff in believing that teaching remotely was possible. As a result, students who are deaf with additional needs were able to continue their learning throughout lockdown, maintain standards and return to the Academy post lockdown.