Our Leadership

Doug Thomas


Doug has had extensive experience in the world of alternative provision and special needs both as a teacher in mainstream secondary settings and also as a leader in alternative provision settings.

He firmly believes that the school’s main focus is about opening doors to educational experiences and life experiences so that pupils can enjoy learning and make a habit of learning that will last a lifetime.

Doug has lived in Sussex since 1998 and has raised his family here.  His academic qualifications are from University of Kent ( BA) and Durham University ( MA and PGCE) as well as extensive specialist training in special needs and behavioural aspects to learning.  Doug also is a qualified ECB level 2 cricket coach.

Rowan McConnell

Deputy Headteacher

Rowan is originally from Northern Ireland where he taught English, Religious Studies, Journalism and Performing Arts as well as managing a school based Youth Centre in Belfast. Now living in Sussex, he enjoys spending free time on his allotment and garden. Rowan studied English and Theology at Queen’s University Belfast.

Rowan gained his PGCE at The University of Ulster specialising in English with Drama and Media Studies. He has over 17 years experience working with children and young people with special educational needs.

Helen Ellis

Deputy Headteacher

Helen originates from South Wales but has settled in West Sussex with her young family. Helen was drawn to mainstream secondary education through her interest in dance and theatre.  This was soon overtaken by a passion for inclusion and Helen quickly progressed to become an Assistant Head Teacher responsible for pastoral provision in a mainstream school in 2003.

Helen made the step from mainstream into WSAPC in 2010 to take on the new challenge of establishing the Inclusion Team.

Sam Channon

Business Manager

Sam joined WSAPC in March 2016 and has over 14 years’ experience working at a senior level in both the private and public sectors. Sam’s career started in media and TV where she gained a solid grounding in recruitment, policy development and budget management and, on completing an HR qualification (CIPD) she realised a passion for working within education and contributing to positive outcomes for young people. Sam holds a Certificate in School Business Management and is in the final stages of the Diploma in Schools Business Management.

Sam spends her free time with her family and she enjoys running and music.