As we are a charitable company limited by guarantee, our Members have a role similar to shareholders in a limited company. The Members are responsible for determining the purpose of the Trust and the way it is governed.
I am a career sociologist who joined the University of Brighton as Deputy Vice-Chancellor in 2014. I am a member of the University’s Board of Governors and of the Academic Board, Partnership, Approval and Review Committee, Portfolio Planning Group and Research Strategy Committee.
I came to Brighton from Nottingham Trent University where I worked for seven years, firstly as Dean of the School of Social Sciences and latterly as its Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
Previously, I held the post of Sub-Dean responsible for postgraduate studies in the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Leicester. I spent nine years at Leicester which included spells as Head of Department of Sociology and Director of Research in the School of Education. Prior to this, I spent 10 years at the University of Warwick where I held a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research (CEDAR). Earlier posts were at the Institute for Employment Studies at the University of Sussex and the National Foundation for Educational Research.
My interests in the sociology of education and of childhood have led to project-directorships under the Economic and Social Research Council's (ESRC) Children 5-16: Growing into the 21st Century programme and the ESRC/Arts & Humanities Research Council Cultures of Consumption programme. I have lectured and published widely in these areas and in qualitative methodology, especially ethnography.
I have been a member of the Governing Council of the Society for Research into Higher Education (SRHE) since 2014 and in January 2018 was elected to the position of Chair. The SRHE is an independent, UK-based international society which is the leading learned society in the field of advancing understanding of higher education and supporting and disseminating research.
Professor Chris Pole
Appointed 17 December 2015
Over a long career, I have had extensive experience of education and corporate governance as a teacher, local government officer, and education consultant. I have worked in these capacities at a senior level in every phase of education, including Director of Education and Assistant Chief Executive, across a very diverse range of Councils of differing political control, geography and approach. I have also worked on education projects in the private and not for profit sectors.
Most of my experience in local government was gained in county councils, including East Sussex, Hampshire and Cambridgeshire. I have also served as a parent governor at my children’s secondary school and as a board member on the Centre for the Study of Comprehensive Schools at the University of Leicester.
I have worked as an independent consultant for over sixteen years. Many of my projects have been academy related and in 2008 I began work as Academies Director for East Sussex as part of their ambitious programme to raise educational attainment in Hastings. When the project transferred to the University of Brighton as the lead sponsor, I became Director of Development and worked successfully with the Academies Team to establish all fifteen of the Trust’s academies.
Throughout my career I have been totally committed to improving the life chances of children and young people, especially those from economically disadvantaged communities. As a teacher, I worked in city schools in Nottingham and most of my consultancy work has been in projects involving disadvantaged children. The Trust can be justly proud of its role in helping to transform the lives of its students and it is a privilege to be able, once again, to contribute to the continuing challenges it faces, particularly school improvement.
Appointed 25 January 2021
I am currently a senior leader at the West Sussex Alternative Provision College, with overall operational and strategic leadership of two sites; an Alternative Provision unit in Burgess Hill and the Chalk Hill Education centre in Haywards Heath, Secure Mental Health Unit. At both, I am responsible for the educational provision to some of the most vulnerable young people in West Sussex, and all the multi-agency work that goes into it. Prior to that I led at a STEM school in central London, on Behaviour, Attendance, Child Protection, Safeguarding and Special Educational Needs. I strive to bring that ‘frontline’ perspective to the strategic governance of the executive committee, in my role as a member, and champion University of Brighton Academies Trust to fulfil is vision of running inclusive community schools.
Prior to entering education, following undergraduate study of Criminology and Forensic Science at Keele University, and then Masters in Crime Science at UCL, I had a successful career in Thames Valley Police. I undertook frontline policing roles, and later qualified as a detective, going on to manage investigations into serious offences across Berkshire, from the crime scene, though to court proceedings.
Whilst a police officer, I volunteered as a governor at a local secondary school in West Berkshire, and during this time I was inspired by the potential a good school has to positively impact a whole community. So, in 2015 I completed my Initial Teacher Training at University of Brighton, via the School Direct route. From there I went on to teach Sociology and Biology at Oriel High School, a large comprehensive in Crawley.
In addition to this role, I am a co-opted governor at Longhill High School in Brighton, where I live with my fiancée and daughter.
Appointed 25 January 2021
I am a governance professional with experience in the public, voluntary and education sectors. Having started my career working for the Princes Trust managing a grant scheme, I moved to Southwark Council, where I specialised in community engagement before being asked to manage a £16m deprivation focused fund across this London borough.
When I moved to East Sussex, I managed a charity providing infrastructure support to children and young people’s groups in East Sussex. I now run a partnership delivering projects that helps schools and academies work more effectively and provide strategic support and governance leadership to a growing school trust that runs alternative provision schools in the East of England.
Appointed 25 January 2021
As sponsor, the University of Brighton is also a Member of the Trust.