Matt Sanderson
  • The Award for Unsung Hero
  • Highlees Primary School
  • Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

A much-loved member of the staff team, Matt joined in 2014, having previously worked for a local luxury yacht builder.  Matt is Site Manager at the school and is viewed as a role model for many, particularly for those who find life in the classroom challenging.  He is described by colleagues as ‘a calming influence, providing safe respite’ from the pressure of the confines of the classroom.

Matt creates an encouraging environment in which learning happens for even the most challenged of children. He takes huge personal pride in redecorating and refreshing the learning spaces. He gives freely of his own time, working way beyond his contracted hours. Throughout the pandemic he made significant personal sacrifices to ensure that the school was as safe as possible.

Most notably, he intervened to save a vulnerable, diabetic Year 6 boy who was new to England and living in food poverty. As a result, the school engaged with the boy’s mother, who didn’t understand how food and medication interacted for diabetics, particularly in cold weather. His intervention brought about the introduction of diabetes training for key staff and led to the school’s Community Box programme, which provides weekly boxes of food, personal hygiene and cleaning products to the Trust’s most vulnerable families.