Matt Hopkins, dedicated educator and Head of Port’s Middle School has been honoured with the NEiTA Foundation 2023 Excellence in Teaching Award.
This prestigious recognition is a testament to his unwavering commitment to transforming the lives of at-risk and disengaged students who have faced educational, social, emotional, and behavioural challenges.
The awards which received over 2500 nominations awarded Matt with the prestigious NEiTA Apple Award.
With a background as a primary school teacher, Matt joined Port School in 2015, and has made significant impact in the School’s ability to reengage students who were struggling to thrive within the traditional educational system. In 2016, with the support of Principal Barry Finch, Matt helped initiate a ground-breaking program specifically designed for at-risk and disengaged boys. These students, referred by various stakeholders, had struggled in previous school settings and desperately needed a fresh approach.
What set this program apart was its innovative use of a converted bus as a classroom. The program focused on building trust and providing education tailored to the individual needs of each student. Through this unique approach, Matt along with the dedicated team successfully rekindled these students’ passion for learning and personal growth.
In 2019, Matt, again with Principal Barry’s support, introduced another innovative program for at-risk year 8 and 9 students. This “Middle School” initiative sought to restore these students’ educational journey by reintroducing them to a primary school model of education. Thanks to Matt’s dedication and expertise, the program has thrived and has expanded to three classrooms for 2024, making a significant impact on the lives of an increasing number of students.
Matt’s passion lies in helping students who have faced adversity and challenges that have disrupted their educational progress. He believes that every student, regardless of their background, deserves the opportunity to succeed academically. Matt’s approach revolves around establishing meaningful relationships, creating structured routines, and fostering a growth mindset.
One of the pivotal elements of Matt’s teaching philosophy is his commitment to instilling the belief in students that they can learn and improve. By helping students understand the concept of a growth mindset, he empowers them to embrace their full potential and achieve academic success.
The Excellence in Teaching Award 2023 is a well-deserved recognition of Matt Hopkins’ exceptional contributions to education and his tireless efforts to help students who have fallen through the cracks of the traditional educational system. Matt’s dedication has not only transformed the lives of his students but have also inspired educators everywhere to make a difference. Congratulations Matt!
For more information about the awards: