A Tribute to Ron Austin by John Child

Ron Austin was appointed to Chichester High School for Boys in 1980. He had previously been the Head teacher of Lea Manor School in Luton and prior to that Deputy Head teacher of a school in Newport, South Wales

When he joined the High School it was not performing well and there was need for urgent improvement. Ron was fortunate that a new Deputy Head teacher from Manchester, (Frank Casey) had been appointed to CHSB the previous year and he had already put in place structures and new standards for the boys to follow. It was hard work for all the staff and students to return the school to its potential but the improvements had begun. Over the next few years Ron appointed a number of new staff to the school who had high standards themselves and the school was ‘turning around’.

With these improvements it was pleasing to see parents from the Chichester area and surrounding villages to note the significant improvements and they started to send their sons to CHSB. As the school’s reputation for academic success and extra-curricular activities improved so did the demand for places.

Within a few years Ron (along with his other Deputy Head John Hyland) were able to convince the Local Education Authority that money needed to be spent on CHSB to make the facilities fit for a school in the 1980’s!

Whilst the original 1920’s CHSB school buildings on the Kingsham Road site were not suitable for major developments and the former ‘Lancastrian’ school buildings were of a poor standard, the Lancastrian site itself was very large and ideal for development. Over the ten or more years Ron and John were able to see new, state of the art Classrooms, Technology and Art block, new Science wing, Learning Resource Area and finally an excellent Sixth Form Centre.

With such significant improvements and the appointment of very good new teachers, the High School for Boys was able to thrive and this was reflected in the students’ achievements. Ron and the Head of Chichester High school for Girls (Lynn Parkin) appreciated the benefits of joining the teaching of girls and boys together. This was to be a great benefit for all concerned.

Throughout this time examination results improved greatly and many Sixth Form students achieved very high grades and went on to be accepted in all the best Universities in the land!

At the same time the extra-curricular opportunities and achievements of students were flourishing. Ron was a keen cricketer himself (when in Luton he had been a regular member of the ‘Luton School Masters Cricket Club’). Ron did play for the CHSB staff Cricket Team for a number of years, he was a bowler. Many of our home games were played on the pitch at Goodwood opposite the House. One of our staff members was a member of the Goodwood Cricket Team and he was able to agree for us to play many of our home games there.

Ron was very competitive and lo and behold you if you dropped a catch off his bowling!

With the school having achieved so much over a number of years Ron eventually decided to retire in 1998 to enjoy more time with his wife, Yvonne, spending time in Spain and enjoy taking walks along the shore path around Bognor Regis.