Press Release

DfE approves Eastbourne all-through Free School

Friday 13 July 2012

The East Sussex Free School Steering Group is delighted to announce that the Department for Education has granted approval to pre-opening phase for the new all-through Free School in Eastbourne. The school will be called Gildredge House, and plans to open in September 2013. This school will provide personalised education for children aged from 4 to 19, and will manage an individual learning journey for each pupil in a consistent and developmental way.

The demographic profile of Eastbourne is changing. There are a growing number of young families in Eastbourne and local primary schools are already struggling to accommodate the increased demand. Gildredge House plans to provide 56 urgently needed Reception places, and will help to meet the projected shortfall in secondary places in the area. It will also ensure that a higher proportion of East Sussex pupils are offered a place at their first-choice school.

Gildredge House plans an initial intake of two classes of 28 pupils in Reception and six classes of 20 in Year 7 for 2013. The school will continue with the same intake in Reception and Year 7 each year thereafter, with the first pupils reaching the Sixth Form in 2018.

There is a huge demand for this new school, with already 695 expressions of interest from parents with 1,124 children supporting the application for this exciting opportunity. In addition, over 100 teachers, extracurricular activity providers and local businesses showed their support by offering their expertise at an open event held by the Free School at the Lansdowne Hotel in April.

Gildredge House’s vision is for pupils to be “cooperative, confident, ambitious and successful regardless of their background.” The school’s mission states: “We expect pupils to meet academic challenges, discover their passions, develop confidence, contribute positively to society, be resilient and become independent thinkers prepared for successful and fulfilling lives.”

The non-selective Free School will take a traditional approach to education and will offer a broad range of academic subjects, specialising in Science and Technology. Class sizes will be small and a longer school day for seniors will incorporate supervised prep and extracurricular activities. All pupils will be expected to participate in Sport, Art, Drama and Music. Parents will be expected to work with the school in their children’s education and there will be no tolerance of disruption in the school, allowing teachers to teach and pupils to study in depth. Primary teaching will focus on building a solid foundation and instilling a love of, and respect for learning.

A Governing Body comprising members of the Steering Group has been appointed to oversee the creation of the school and initial key activities include appointing an outstanding headteacher and gaining approval for the proposed site (Dental Estimates Board, Compton Place Road).

The admissions policy will be available in early September 2012, and open days will be arranged from this time. The application timings will be in line with East Sussex County Council’s school admissions key dates, and for 2013 admissions, applications must be made directly to Gildredge House. Applications should be made in addition to other schools following the usual Local Authority process, giving parents a choice should they be offered two places.

To find out more and stay up-to-date with the school’s progress and events, please subscribe to our newsletter or Like the Gildredge House Facebook page.

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