Bognor school visited by educational charity

Jon Cole, chief executive of the United Learning Trust, with pupils Chloe Archer and Tom Atkinson.'C'120016-1 Bog Learning  Photo Louise Adams
Jon Cole, chief executive of the United Learning Trust, with pupils Chloe Archer and Tom Atkinson.'C'120016-1 Bog Learning Photo Louise Adams

Managing director Jon Coles visited Bognor Regis on his first outing after taking charge of a leading educational charity.

Mr Coles was keen to tour The Regis School’s campus on only his third day in his new role with the United Learning Trust.

The specialist sports school became the trust’s latest academy when the current term started.

Mr Coles walked around the Westloats Lane site with its £39m school building, its Arena sports and skills centres and Stepping Stones nursery.

He was keen to tour the entire campus – with its 1,428 pupils and 300-plus staff – during his visit of just over two hours rather than stay in the school.

He vowed the trust would ensure the school succeeded.

“There’s a group of people here who are committed to making this a successful school for the benefit of the community,” he said.

“It’s exciting to be here and working with the community.”

“This is a fantastic building and a wonderful space which has superb facilities.

“It’s a place which has huge potential.

“But there is no magic bullet to becoming a successful school. You have to have the right people and the right support in place and you have to professionally develop the staff.

“It’s hard work and you have to ensure the kids are engaged along with their parents and the community.

“The most important thing is to have a real understanding of the school’s situation and the next step it needs to take and to do that with professionalism and efficiency.”

Mr Coles has joined ULT from the government’s Department for Education where he was the director general for education standards.

He visited Bognor after going to Midhurst and before travelling to Shoreham where the trust also runs academies.

The school became the trust’s 22nd academy. Being an academy frees the school from the local education authority’s control.

Headteacher David Jones has more flexibility about lessons and staffing matters.

Services such as human resources are provided by the trust with the funding it receives or the school from the government.

The trust has vowed to use its experience to turn The Regis School into an outstanding school within five years. Mr Jones said that achievement would offer benefits to the wider town.

“I’m sure the community would be immensely proud to have within its environment a school that was totally outstanding.

“We have outstanding primary schools in Bognor and Felpham and it would be fantastic for this school to join them.

“We accept a large number of our students will work locally and we hope they will more than pull their weight and can be a dynamic force in the regeneration of Bognor,” he said.