Information | 29.03.2021 | By Paul Simpson

Mike Lockett – 24.11.1937 – 27.02.2021

It was with great sadness that we learnt of Mike’s passing on 27th February, all the more of a shock for Mike was one of those people who never seemed to get any older, looking fit, staying active and keeping busy throughout his retirement, just as he did when working.

Mike originally trained as a Primary Teacher and taught initially in Crewe before being called for National Service, where he worked as an Orderly in a Hospital.  It was here that he first became interested in working with deaf people, having observed how they were so often excluded and missed out on things.

After National Service he was fortunate to be given a one-year secondment to Manchester University to train as a Teacher of the Deaf, after which he went to work at the Royal School for the Deaf in Manchester, then at Portley House School for the Deaf in Caterham.  Later again he moved to the School for the Deaf in Basingstoke, this time as Deputy Head.

He clearly made his mark there, for in 1976 he was appointed as the Head Teacher of Elmfield School for Deaf Children in Bristol, a post he held until his retirement in 1995.

It is clear from these appointments that Mike loved his work and had really found his niche in working with deaf children and their families.  His focus was always on ‘What is best for each child?’ and Mike would go above and beyond the ‘Call of Duty’ to ensure that all the pupils in his charge received the very best of education and support.  He was also very well-liked by his staff who always felt well supported and appreciated, leading to a happy working atmosphere for staff and pupils alike.  He had an open-door policy and always welcomed visitors, including the parents of pre-school deaf children who were considering school options for their own children.

Bristol was one of the first Authorities to set up a fully integrated range of provision for Deaf children.  In addition to the Special School, they established special units in Mainstream schools, and a comprehensive peripatetic support service for pre-school children and for school aged deaf children.  Elmfield School was very much a part of this continuum of provision and Mike played a significant part in ensuring that those deaf children with the greatest educational needs were well supported at Elmfield Special School.

Bristol was indeed fortunate to have Mike as the Head of Elmfield for nearly twenty years and he is remembered with affection and gratitude by a generation of deaf children and their parents who benefitted from his caring leadership.

Mike was also well known and well respected by his professional peers and colleagues elsewhere in the country, for he made a significant contribution to the work of the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf (BATOD), serving on their Executive Committee for several years.  He was an active member of their important Programmes Committee and helped to organise a number of National Conferences and Training Courses.  Indeed, such was his reputation that, after his retirement in 1995, he was approached by Swansea University to come out of retirement and run their Training Course for teachers of the deaf, thus passing on his own skills and experience to help the next generation of specialist teachers, many of whom are active in the profession today.

Throughout all this activity Mike remained a personable, approachable, friendly, and fair-minded colleague.  He had a very well-developed sense of humour and a loud and infectious laugh that was almost his trademark!  As such Mike was not only respected by his colleagues and friends but was very well liked and will be long remembered with warmth and affection by all.

prepared by Malcolm Garner with help from several former colleagues.