Award-winning Academy

At the beginning of the pandemic, the Deaf Academy quickly adapted to develop an award-winning online learning platform that gave every child and young person full access to the learning, therapies and counselling. 

In 2020, we opened the doors to our brand new state-of-the-art academy purposely designed for Deaf young people with additional needs. Everything about the Academy has been meticulously thought out to enhance the learning experience of our students. 

Student learning

Award Winning Education

In April 2020, the Academy implemented a groundbreaking online learning programme that met the varied, and complex needs of every student. We made sure to consider their language acquisition, additional needs, including visual impairments and autism, along with the heightened levels of anxiety due to the pandemic. Our Online Academy was a platform that offered community, connection and learning. 

 This was all during a period of homelessness for us as an Academy.  In April 2020, we were due to move to our brand new, purpose built Academy in the beautiful seaside town of Exmouth, but due to the pandemic, the building was not finished in time. Our old site, already sold and demolition plans on the way, the Deaf Academy faced a whole spectrum of challenges.

It was essential that every child received the quality education that they deserved. With the help from In-Focus and the University of Exeter who kindly donated their classrooms and residential flats, we were able to run a successful Spring Camp for the children and young people of key workers. Spring Camp ran simultaneously with the online platform providing every child bespoke learning, therapy and catering for their social and emotional needs.

Providing wellbeing and support was a key element to the Online Academy. Students were provided supervised ‘hang out’ Zoom sessions at break times to ensure friendships could flourish and no child was left isolated. To combat Zoom fatigue, students were given no-screen Wednesdays whereby the Academy sent them activity packages where they could explore their creativity and independent learning skills. Every student was given new tasks each week or given the choice to develop their sense of self and explore their own interests.

Providing equal access for Deaf children across the UK

The beginning of the pandemic was an anxious time for everyone, more so for the tens of thousands of Deaf BSL users who did not have direct access to the crucial information announced at briefings. The lack of BSL interpretation meant many Deaf people did not fully understand what coronavirus was and how to keep safe.

Matt Jenkins, who is an enthusiastic teacher with a wealth of innovative ideas applied solutions to this problem commonly faced by Deaf learners. Driven by a desire to ensure that Deaf learners had equal access to information and learning around COVID, Matt created the ‘Ask Deaf teachers’ YouTube channel, developing online resources in sign language that were fun, engaging and accessible to all deaf children and young people. 

“I set up the YouTube channel ‘Ask Deaf Teachers’ because I was concerned that Deaf children were being left behind during the coronavirus pandemic. There were no organisations helping Deaf children understand what coronavirus was or how to keep safe. So I decided to step in.”

Matt Jenkins

Creator of Ask Deaf Teachers

Pearson’s National Teaching Award

Pearson’s National Teaching ‘Lockdown Hero’ Award – For outstanding learner and community support

Joanna Fison – Silver Winner

Matt Jenkins – Silver Winner

Nominated by: Deaf Academy

Winners announced: June 2021

Gold winners announced: November 2021

NASS Innovation Award

NASS Innovation Award


Nominated by: Deaf Academy

Winners announced: October 2021


Tes Further Education Awards 2021

TES Further Education Awards – Outstanding use of technology in delivering remote teaching and learning


Nominated by: Deaf Academy

Winners announced: May 2021

Tes School Awards 2022

Nikki James – Teaching Assistant of the Year


Nominated by: Deaf Academy

Winners announced: June 2022


Great British Care Awards 2024

Alex Scarlatt – Care Newcomer of the Year award


Nominated by: Deaf Academy

Winners announced: March 2024

Award Winning Facilities

September, 2020 was a very special moment in our history. We opened our doors to our new campus in the vibrant seaside town of Exmouth, Devon – a world leading bespoke new facility for Deaf Children and Young People.

Designed around the principles of inspiration, visual communication and inclusivity, this truly 21st Century Deaf school and college campus places the Deaf Academy at the cutting edge of Deaf education in Europe.

Inspired by US-developed DeafSpace architecture, light and colour permeate the Academy building; clear sight lines and wide corridors enable signers to communicate and acoustics are carefully managed. Meanwhile, large classrooms and modern therapeutic facilities are designed to complement each other and provide state-of-the-art education for Deaf young people, whatever their additional needs might be.

The award-winning Academy has been purposely designed to enhance the learning of Deaf young people with additional needs.


Education Estates Awards 2021

 Inclusive Learning Spaces for All Award – Winner 

Pupil/Student Experience Award – Winner

Client of the Year Award – Winner

Project of the Year Award – Highly commended

Nominated by: Stride Treglown

Winners announced: October 2021

Michelmores Property Awards 2021

Michelmores property award – Project of the Year (over £5 million)


Nominated by: Midas Construction Ltd

Winners announced: November 2021


AJ199 Architectural Awards 2021

 AJ100 Award – Community impact of the year


Nominated by: Stride Treglown

Winners announced: September 2021


British Construction Industry Awards 2021

The British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA) Social infrastructure of the year


Nominated by: Hydrock Ltd

Winners announced: October 2021


ANC Acoustic Awards 2021

Acoustics for inclusion – Winners

Nominated by: Mach Group

Winners accounted: November 2021


CIVIC Trusts Awards 2022


Nominated by: Midas Group

Winners announced: March 2022


Would you like to find out more about our award-winning Academy, or would like to arrange a visit?  Please fill in the form with as much information as you can and I’ll contact you via email or telephone.

Ruth Kennedy

Student Placement Administrator

We're now accepting admission applications for 2024-25

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