SHOREHAM Academy has seen its largest-ever intake this term, a legacy of former principal Heidi Brown.
As the 1,450 students begin the autumn term, Jim Coupe takes on the role of acting principal at the Kingston Lane school.
Mr Coupe, 40, went to King’s Manor Community College in January, 2008, as assistant principal and 18 months later, was promoted to vice-principal, just before the school re-opened as Shoreham Academy in September, 2009.
He said: “Heidi wanted this to be the school of first choice for young people in Shoreham and Southwick. It was her vision and one I shared. That is what we now are and that is what we want to remain.
“The school has never been bigger than it is this year and more growth is expected.”
He said the new term was exciting, with the mood buoyed by a strong set of results this summer. Many of those who celebrated their GCSE results just three weeks ago have now graduated to the school’s sixth form.
One new feature being introduced is the Shoreham Academy Experience, which sets out what students can experience during their time at the school.
Mr Coupe explained: “It lets them know our expectations of them but also the key opportunities that they themselves will have. Thus, they know to expect to be pushed academically to do their best and that they will be encouraged to develop new skills and pursue new interests and enrichment activities.
“We want every student from their earliest days in year seven to take advantage of every opportunity we offer at Shoreham Academy and to look forward to making the most of their years with us, whether that is directly in the classroom or via inspirational visits, performances, sport or the arts.”
Year sevens will also be taking part in the Raising Aspirations Programme as part of their welcome to Shoreham Academy.
Another important element will be building on community links with the two towns, which sit either side of the school.
Mr Coupe explained: “We firmly believe we are a community school and we have been delighted to share our excellent sports facilities more widely over the past two years.
“We want to extend this now and will therefore be broadening community access to our arts facilities and thus allow other drama and dance groups to use our school as their base.”
He wants to build on the foundations laid down by his predecessor, who has taken up a headship at Bexhill High Academy.
“Although I’ve been at the academy for a number of years, this is my first September in charge,” said Mr Coupe. “It is therefore particularly important to me that all our students and staff begin the new year striving to be their very best.
“I know that everyone who has visited us since the beginning of term has noticed how busy and positive we all are.
“We’ve had an excellent few years but we’re all totally driven to making the future even better than the past.”
Shoreham Academy has an open evening on Tuesday, from 6pm to 8.30pm, for next year’s September intake. There is a choice of two talks, at 6.30pm and 7.15pm.