A SUSSEX secondary school has now decided to change its name because the senior clergyman it was named after was disgraced amid sex abuse allegation.

Bishop Bell School in Priory School, Eastbourne, was named after George Bell, the late bishop of Chichester, who died 57 years ago.

Last October it was revealed the Church of England had issued a formal apology and paid a settlement in a child abuse case concerning Bell and involving a young child in the 1940s and 50s.

Now the governing body has voted to become St. Catherine’s College, and the new name will be used when the school formally converts to a Church of England Academy ahead of the next school year in September 2016. The St Catherine's name was chosen ahead of St Edward’s.

The governors have also voted to join The Diocese of Chichester Academy Trust.

A spokesman for the school said, ‘St Catherine was a Doctor of Scholarship and Teacher of the Faith. She was recognised for being honest and standing up for what she believed to be right.

‘She was charitable and demanded nothing for herself. She was a peacemaker and a greatly respected figure for her spiritual writings.

‘By making a positive choice to convert to academy status from a position of strength, the school has exciting times to look forward to.

‘There is a team of 90 pupil leaders ready to assist with the development of a new corporate identity, a refresh of the school uniform, and the introduction of a much anticipated house system.’

In the latest school newsletter, headteacher Mark Talbot said the name change was part of a rebranding exercise.

‘When choosing to become an academy, schools have the opportunity to review their name,’ said Mr Talbot.

‘This was our intention and, with the news relating to Bishop George Bell, this was accelerated.’

The survivor of George Bell first came forward 20 years ago, but the matter was not investigated or referred to police at the time.

The church settled the claim at the end of September 2015 and released a letter from the serving bishop of Chichester, Martin Warner, to the survivor expressing “deep sorrow” and apologising for a “devastating betrayal of trust”.

The Bishop Bell school also hit the headlines when teacher Jeremy Forrest was jailed for five and a half years in 2013 after fleeing to France with a pupil aged 15. He was found guilty of child abduction.

There were calls for the then head Terry Boatwright to resign because the school had missed Forrest’s abuse.