A TEACHER of British Sign Language (BSL) at Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education has won a regional award from UK charity and leading awarding body in deaf communications, Signature.

Matt Jenkins, who is from South Wales but now teaches sign language in Exeter and Bristol, is the recipient of the South West Teacher of the Year Award at the 2014 Signature Annual Awards.

The awards honour individuals, organisations and community groups that are striving to break down the barriers of communication between deaf and hearing people.

Matt said: “I’m honoured to be the winner of this award. I was originally going to be an art teacher, but when I started my training I realised I wanted to teach BSL instead, and I’ve never looked back.

“I really enjoy helping my students to progress with their sign language, both in and outside the classroom – I regularly arrange trips to the shops, museums or to see BSL theatre in order to develop their confidence and vocabulary.”

Jim Edwards, Signature chief executive, said: “Matt is a worthy winner of this award. He is an excellent teacher, who is always using innovative methods and materials to make sure students enjoy the process of learning BSL. By all accounts he is an inspiration to everyone he teaches.”

Matt will now go up against eleven other regional winners from across the UK in the running for the national Teacher of the Year Award.

For more information, please visit www.signature.org.uk/awards/