“The Deaf Academy has been recognised for its outstanding use of technology in delivering remote teaching and learning in a national education award.
The Exmouth-based academy has been shortlisted in the Tes FE Awards for 2021, and as the only SEN provision shortlisted in this category, it has set the standards of what is possible for Deaf providers all across the country.
During the first lockdown, the Deaf Academy developed a successful Online Academy to support its students learning from home. Launched in April 2020, every student was given a tablet and full access to their education, with blended live learning and video lessons, all with interpretation to ensure complete accessibility for British Sign Language users.
The Academy implemented an innovative online learning programme that met the varied, and complex needs of every student It considered their language acquisition, additional needs including visual impairments and autism, along with the heightened levels of anxiety due to the Covid pandemic. At its core the Academy created a platform that offered community, connection and learning.
Jane Shann, Assistant Principal for Education at the Deaf Academy, stated: “We’re absolutely thrilled that our dedication to student learning and wellbeing has been acknowledged as outstanding on a national level. Every attention to detail has paid off. We’re very proud of our Online Academy and its capabilities to support children of all complexities. Absolutely everything was delivered virtually, from speech and language therapy, physio packs, bespoke learning, and even Friday assemblies for families. None of this would have been possible without the sheer determination and dedication from our key workers.”
Wellbeing and support was a significant part of the Online Academy. Students were provided supervised ‘hang out’ Zoom sessions at break times to ensure friendships could continue and no child was left isolated.
‘No screen Wednesdays’ were initiated to combat screen fatigue. This enabled students to explore their creativity and independent learning skills. They were given tasks each week or given the choice to explore their own interests to develop their sense of self.
Julia Belgutay, Head of FE at Tes, said: “Further education providers have excelled in what has been a truly challenging year, and the amazing individuals, teams and institutions on our Tes FE Awards shortlist showcase that. Our judges were highly impressed with the calibre of entries and I want to congratulate everyone who has made the shortlist – it is a brilliant achievement”
In an afflicting time for humanity, the Deaf Academy has flourished and exceeded expectations to create a truly outstanding virtual learning platform. The TES award ceremony will be held virtually on Friday 28 May 2021. You can view the full list of who has been shortlisted on the Tes Awards website: tesawards.co.uk”
Press release in BSL: