Downlands School

Mr Wignall - Village People interview

Mark Wignall, Downlands Community College

By David Tingley

If you want to learn something about community, just have a chat with Mark Wignall, Headteacher at Downlands Community School.

Although born in London, Mark spent most of his childhood in the Midlands – living just down the road from the Cadburys factory; anyone who has heard him talk in an assembly has heard his soft ‘brummy’ accent. Mark has been married to Lynne for 24 years and they have three children Ellen, Harry and Joe. He describes his devotion to Birmingham City Football Club as ‘a life sentence’!

Mark has always been keen on sport. He has always loved rugby, football, cricket and squash, to name but a few, so it is no surprise that he went on to study Sports Science at Brighton Polytechnic. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do at the time, but I did love sport,” he explains, “although there weren’t as many options for a Sports Science graduate back then.”

Mark started his working life as a fitness instructor in the gym at the House of Commons; a role which ranged from designing personal fitness programmes for MPs, to collecting towels. After moving up to Harrogate to work at a luxury hotel doing a similar role, it wasn’t long before Mark asked himself: ‘Is this the rewarding career I really want?’. After some soul-searching, he returned to Sussex to complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) with a view to being a teacher. Placements during his course were in secondary schools in Bexhill and Cuckfield.

[Read the full story in the May 2019 issue of Hassocks Life magazine…]