Education chief’s backing for new school plans

Nick Bennett2PROPOSALS to create two new primary schools on secondary school sites in Eastbourne will be taken forward after receiving the backing of a senior councillor.

Cllr Nick Bennett, East Sussex County Council lead member for learning and school effectiveness, agreed to progress plans to create more than 800 school places, at his latest lead member meeting on Monday, March 24 2014.

The council will now work with Cavendish School to develop plans to build a new two-form entry school on its site in Eldon Road, including consulting with stakeholders and the community, with the new school likely to be established as a free school run by the academy trust behind Cavendish.

The authority will also support further investigation into building a second two-form entry primary on the Ratton School site, in Park Avenue, a proposal currently subject to a study into its feasibility.

The plans replace a previously approved proposal to expand St Andrew’s CE Infant School, in Winchelsea Road, and Tollgate Community Junior School, in Winston Crescent, which would have created 210 new places.

Cllr Bennett said: “We are facing a significant shortfall in primary school places in Eastbourne in the years to come and we need to plan now to ensure everyone gets a place in a good school.

“These proposals will play a large part in ensuring we have enough places for our children on sites capable of accommodating them.

“Both schools are supportive of the proposals and while with any scheme of this nature there will be local issues to overcome, it is hoped these can be addressed in the consultation and planning process which will follow in due course.”

The proposed new school on the Cavendish site would accommodate 420 pupils while a new school on the Ratton site would be of a similar size.

Funding to build a primary school on the Cavendish site, at an initial estimated cost of £7 million to £8 million, has been set aside in the council’s recently approved capital programme.

If the plans are approved, the first new primary school would be expected to open by September 2015.