Leadership Team

Sylvan Dewing

Sylvan Dewing

Principal

Sylvan has over 15 years’ experience of successfully managing educational provision in inner city areas.

Previous employers have included Hackney Community College, College of North East London and Haringey council, specialising in inclusion, safeguarding, behaviour management and post-16 provision.

Sylvan has worked at the Deaf Academy since 2017.

Sara Papworth

Sara Papworth

Director of Finance and Resources

Sara is a qualified accountant with many years’ experience in a number of private and public sector organisations, including Royal Mail, Local Authority, the Police, the Prison Service and more recently the further education and charity sectors.

Sara has been the Director of Finance & Resources at the Deaf Academy since 2007.

Steve Morton

Steve Morton

Director of Development

Steve joined the Charity in November 2013 after many years in leadership roles in the charity sector including 10 years with the NSPCC.

He leads on the development and delivery of strategic plans to ensure the Charity secures the necessary income, and key partnerships, to meet the needs of its beneficiaries. He also manages an internal and external marketing communications service for the Charity, its education and residential care provisions as well as for new initiatives.

His most recent development focus is the project management of, and fundraising for, our £10.5 million New Deaf Academy in Exmouth.

James Heaver

James Heaver

Assistant Principal for Care

James is the Assistant Principal for Care and Responsible Individual for our Children’s Care Home. With over 10 years’ experience of working with children and adults in the Health and Social Care Sector, James is committed to ensuring that residential care provides the very best service possible.  

He joined the Academy in 2009 and has managed both Children’s Home and Residential Care services. James is passionate about providing high quality care for our children and young people and has experience of and success in both rapid improvement and development planning. James lives in Exeter and is married with two children.

James is responsible for the large team of staff and managers who support our children and young people in both our residential accommodation and children’s home. He is also responsible for our safeguarding team where he deputises for the Designated Safeguarding Lead and Principal, Sylvan Dewing.

Nick Barton

Nick Barton

Post-16 Coordinator

Nick has more than 15 years’ experience of working in education with children and young people, both in the UK and the USA. He has focused on special needs education in his postgraduate study at the University of Exeter.

Nick joined the Deaf Academy in 2019, and previously worked in special needs/alternative education schools and colleges. He is passionate about improving provision and outcomes for young people to allow them to achieve their full potential.

Outside of work, Nick is married with one child and several ducks, and enjoys sport and travelling.

Matt Bryan

Matt Bryan

Human Resources Manager

Matt has a degree in Business and Personnel from the University of Plymouth and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Matt has worked in the HR field for the past 20 years, originally specialising in Graduate Recruitment where he was responsible for the high volume recruitment of Trainee Solicitors for two very prominent City of London Law firms. He has worked in multiple sectors including Accountancy and Manufacturing.

Matt joined the Deaf Academy in 2009, and has been the HR Manager since 2010. He is responsible for leading the HR team and dealing with the whole HR remit ranging from recruitment, learning & development,  employee relations, employee benefits and staff wellbeing.