College celebrates top signing as former Premier League footballer joins as new Principal

Bishop Auckland College Group is celebrating a top signing – after former professional footballer Shaun Hope joined as its new Principal.

Shaun Hope

Shaun has joined the college from Hartlepool College of Further Education, where he was Vice Principal - Curriculum & Standards and had served in a number of leadership roles over the past 16 years.

They included Head of Sports Development, Head of School, Head of Teaching & Learning and Head of Student Recruitment.

Key achievements include leading an Ofsted inspection where the college’s apprenticeship provision was graded outstanding.

Shaun was a stellar student himself, achieving an A* in PE at school, a Distinction in Sport at Henley College, Coventry, and a Sports Science Degree at Teesside University.

He spent three seasons at Coventry City from 1999 to 2002, playing against Premier League and England regulars including Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe and current Middlesbrough FC head coach Michael Carrick.

The Hartlepool born and bred father-of-two later captained Bishop Auckland FC in the Northern Premier League.

Outside college, Shaun is chairman of The PFC Trust, a charity created by local philanthropists after they won the EuroMillions. He is also a performance coach and his client count includes current undisputed super middleweight World Champion boxer Savannah Marshall.

He is aware he has big boots to fill – former Principal Natalie Davison-Terranova recently left Bishop Auckland College after 15 years to join Barking & Dagenham College in London as Principal & CEO.

Shaun said: “I’m really honoured to have been appointed Principal & CEO of Bishop Auckland College Group. Natalie has led such a successful period and hands over the leadership of the college group in such a strong position academically, financially and with an amazing culture of staff.

“I’ve been at Hartlepool College for over 16 years and deciding to leave was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. Under Principal Darren Hankey’s guidance and leadership, I’ve had the perfect mentor and role model for the progression into a Principal’s role and I’m forever grateful for that.

“It was the similarities between the two colleges and the impact they both make to their communities which made Bishop Auckland such an attractive opportunity. I’m really excited to get started.”

Patrick and Shaun

Patrick Lonergan, Chair of the Bishop Auckland College Corporation, (pictured above with Shaun Hope) added: “I am delighted to announce Shaun’s appointment as our next Principal and Chief Executive.

“Our college is central to community life for Bishop Auckland and the wider region. The last few years has seen us bring about transformational change for our students and communities.

“We look forward to working with Shaun as he takes this forward and are grateful for the outstanding leadership that Natalie has provided as Principal & CEO over the last 12 years. We thank her for her commitment to the college and wider public service and wish her every success in her new role as Principal & CEO of Barking & Dagenham College.”

Bishop Auckland College Group incorporates Bishop Auckland College, South West Durham Training in Newton Aycliffe, Bishop Auckland College Nursery, alternative provision centre Durham Gateway and the pioneering partnership between the college and the Auckland Project, Auckland Academy.