We are delighted to announce the appointment of the first Head Teacher, Derek Cogle, for our new specialist autism school in Sunderland, Harry Watts Academy.
Derek was born in South Shields to a Newcastle supporting mother and Sunderland fanatic father, who took him to his first ever football match at the old Roker Park – Sunderland V Tottenham Hotspur (Tottenham won 2:0!).
Derek studied at Newcastle Polytechnic on a specialist degree for the teaching of children with special educational needs. He then completed a Masters Degree in Education at Durham University.
Derek has 31 years’ experience in special educational needs education. He commenced teaching in a school for severe learning difficulties in North Shields in 1988. He went on to become Senior Teacher in a generic special school in Newcastle; Acting Deputy Head in a residential special school in Newcastle and Deputy Head of a special school in Sunderland.
Over the last 17 years Derek has been a Head Teacher working for three special schools during that time – Head teacher of an all age special school in South Tyneside; Head Teacher of an SEHM/ASD special school in Northumberland; and more recently Head Teacher of an Independent school for SEMH/ASD in Sunderland.
Derek commented, “It’s a privilege working in special education and working with so many amazing children/young people, families and colleagues. No day or pupil are the same and watching success occur in individuals who experience challenges, is just wonderful. I am excited to go into work every single day.”
“I have a wealth of experience of working in special education and in leading successful schools and I am very excited to be part of Prosper Learning Trust’s amazing vision for Harry Watts Academy and I am looking forward to making it a reality.”
Derek added, “The opportunity to work on all aspects of creating a new school, appointing quality staff and meeting new pupils with their own uniqueness and personalities is such a privilege.”
“I would like Harry Watts Academy to become an outstanding provision for pupils with ASD throughout Sunderland and create the best possible opportunities and outcomes for them and their families.”
Mark Jones Chief Executive Officer, Prosper Learning Trust said, “The Trust are delighted to have attracted such a high quality candidate. Derek brings with him a wealth of leadership experience including understanding the challenges faced when opening a new school. Everyone within the organisation are looking forward to working with Derek to make Harry Watts Academy a reality.