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.

Ben Thomas

Deputy Headteacher

Ben has worked in alternative provision in West Sussex for over 20 years and joined WSAPC in 2007. Ben possesses a passion for supporting young people outside of the mainstream school system to realise their potential and achieve positive outcomes.

Initially trained as an ICT teacher, Ben has used his substantial experience to progress within WSAPC and successfully lead provisions in both the medical and behavioural fields.

Known for his calm manner and solution focused approach, Ben has supported the school over many years with his creative and ‘pupil first’ attitude.

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.