We are thrilled to announce that the Eastbourne Borough Council Planning Committee has unanimously approved our application to develop the former Dental Estimates Board site in line with the plans submitted earlier this year.
We were confident that the planning application had many aspects to recommend it, but we all breathed a huge sigh of relief when the announcement was made yesterday evening and have not stopped smiling since!
We now look forward to changing our registered address to Compton Place Road and, most importantly, to starting the renovations ready to welcome our first pupils in September.
Exciting plans for the future
What we eventually plan to offer at Gildredge House will harness the best of our imposing red-brick buildings, together with an ingenious remodelling of the more recent ones. This will be enhanced by some brand new purpose-built facilities, including a four-court sports hall.
The Education Funding Agency has been involved at every step of the way to ensure that the school opens on time, which means that, whilst all the new buildings will be in place by September 2014, we will in the meantime have the use of a substantial portion of the site with all necessary facilities and resources to enhance the education of our first Year 7 and Reception groups.
The heart of the school
The courtyard area will be enclosed and transformed into the main entrance and Multi Use Performance Space. This area will incorporate tiered seating and will be large enough to hold whole-school performances. Other exciting features include a black box drama space below the seating and a glass-fronted Science classroom.
The 1960s block will be extended to house the Lower School. The Art Rooms will also be situated in this extension, benefiting from excellent natural light and views of the Downs and playing fields. The low-level building that currently stands next to this will be replaced with outdoor classrooms, a play garden and a hard play space for the Lower School. A four-court sports hall with an integrated pavilion will be built next to the trees adjacent to Paradise Drive.
The E-shaped block, which is situated behind the Victorian main building, consists of large open-plan office space and will be converted to house the Middle and Upper Schools. The Sixth Form will be situated in the main building. The outdoor areas around the E-shaped block will provide further playgrounds, an outdoor dining space and teacher supervised curriculum zones.
Space has been meticulously planned in alignment with our curriculum. Although the school has defined areas for the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools, a main benefit of an all-through school is that the different age groups will come together when meeting with their houses and when sharing the various facilities situated across the site.
With just 15 weeks to go until opening, the schedule for the Phase 1 conversion is tight but we are reassured that it is achievable, thanks to the expertise and experience of our contractors who have successfully completed many school building projects.
"The school is about its pupils"
"We are absolutely delighted that planning permission has been granted and that the contractors can now prepare to make these fantastic visuals a reality. Ultimately, however, the school is about its pupils and I look forward to welcoming our 'pioneers', the first Year 7 and Reception cohorts who are going to help us realise this vision of excellence for the school. My team and I look forward to discovering their interests, inspiring their passions and developing their many personal skills in a stimulating and challenging environment. We aim to provide a fertile climate for learning, which of course includes very high expectations of behaviour and engagement, in which each individual can nurture a love of learning and be the very best that he or she can be." Mrs Lea Gilbert, Headmistress Designate
We are recruiting!
We are currently advertising for an experienced, enthusiastic and enterprising professional to direct the finance and administration of our school. The closing date for applications is 3rd June with a start date of 1st July.
We will shortly be advertising for a School Secretary, a post which has already generated some considerable interest from several Eastbourne residents. We are looking forward to welcoming the successful candidate to the support staff team; he or she will certainly be busy! Full details of the application process will be published in our next newsletter.
Our most recent recruitment phase was a great success, and we look forward to announcing our new teaching staff shortly.
We welcome Tim Firth as a Governor. Tim is a chartered accountant and has a wealth of experience in the financial and business sectors. He is a long-standing member of our local community, acts as trustee and consultant to a number of charitable trusts and is a director of Eastbourne Borough Football Club.
“I rated my grammar school education very highly and am committed to ensuring that Gildredge House offers its pupils an equally high quality of education. I am excited about the promise this new school holds and intend to use my professional skills to support its development and ensure it is well governed.”