Two Exmouth teachers have this evening been named as some of the nation’s most inspirational educators on The One Show on BBC One.

Selected from thousands of nominations, Matt Jenkins and Jo Fison have won a Gold Award in the Pearson National Teaching Awards for The Lockdown Hero Award for Learner & Community Support.

The award came as part of a week-long celebration of teaching which will end this Sunday at a prestigious ceremony celebrating all 102 Silver Winners of the Pearson National Teaching Awards.

At the ceremony, Matt Jenkins and Jo Fison will be honoured alongside their fellow Gold Winners across 15 categories as the best of the UK’s educators.

Matt Jenkins is an enthusiastic teacher with a wealth of innovative ideas, applying solutions to difficulties commonly faced by deaf learners and being 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.

The Pearson National Teaching Award winners have been honoured for their incredible work supporting learners across the country. Each award winner has repeatedly gone above and beyond their role to change the lives of their students and help them move towards a brighter future.

The Pearson National Teaching Awards is an annual celebration of excellence in education, founded in 1998 by Lord Puttnam to recognise the life-changing impact an inspirational teacher can have on the lives of the young people they work with. The 2022 Pearson National Teaching Awards open for entry on Friday 26 November 2021.

Sir Michael Morpurgo, celebrated author and former Children’s laureate, and President of the Teaching Awards Trust, said:

“People of all ages will always remember that wonderful teacher who made such a difference in their lives. The teacher will never know how many lives they have changed, or the impact they have made on so many families, but our hope is that these awards help show our gratitude.”

Sharon Hague, Managing Director of Pearson School Qualifications, said:

“Matt Jenkins and Jo Fison are shining examples of the wonderful educators who work tirelessly across the country to provide the best possible experience for their students, and we thank them all.

“Throughout the awards we’ve heard so many inspirational stories of school and college staff who show such exceptional dedication to their students, to their colleagues, and to their communities. Our congratulations go to all winners on their award.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said:

“I would like to congratulate Matt Jenkins and Jo Fison for this recognition of their amazing work and dedication to their students. Winning one of these awards is a terrific achievement and is testament to Matt and Jo’s skill, commitment and passion for teaching.

“We are lucky enough to have some of the best teachers in the world and I would like to thank every single one of our education staff for their hard work supporting children and young people, especially during the pandemic.”

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