New private school on outskirts of Battle planned

Plans have been put forward to create a new specialist school on the outskirts of Battle.

In an application submitted to Rother District Council, ISP Schools is seeking permission to create an private specialist school at the Glengorse Estate off of Battle Hill.

The application would involve conversion of part of the estate’s main building, which was used as office space until February last year.

According to the applicants, the school would provide specialist education for pupils ages 7-16 who have additional social, emotional and mental health needs.

In a design and access statement, a spokesman for the applicant said: “The school model that is employed by ISP is one that allows for education to take place within a safe, calm and nurturing environment where a high staff to pupil ratio and small class sizes provide a high quality education for children and young people with special educational needs. 

“Glengorse is considered ideal for such a school model due to the setting of the building and its spacious private grounds which allow for effective learning to take place across indoor and outdoor settings.”

Built in the 1820s, the main building at Glengorse was originally a private home, but was converted into a public school in the 1920s. It remained a school until 1991, when it was converted again, this time into office space. 

A number of other buildings on the estate have also been converted into office and light industrial sites. 

The applicant, which also runs a fostering service, is already a tenant at Glengorse and would remain on site should the application be approved. It also runs another specialist school in Kent.

As the building has previously been used as a school, the applicant says no changes are required to its internal layout should the application be approved.

The school would be intended to offer places for up to 60 student places, although it would not be expected to have a full roll within the first year. It would operate a staff to pupil ratio of one to four, with class sizes of between six to eight students.

The proposals do not include plans for boarding. Due to the small pupil numbers, however, the applicant does not expect school transport to pose significant problems.

A spokesman for the applicant said: “Many of the children will arrive and depart via a private minibus which will serve to reduce overall trips to and from the site, alternatively students will arrive by taxi or will be dropped off by parents.

“With a relatively low number of students comparable to a typical school, and extensive private areas for on site vehicle movements, it is not anticipated that there will be any impact from the change of use.

“Indeed it is anticipated that vehicular access to and from the site will reduce with less vehicles needing to enter or leave the property during school hours in contrast to the current use.”

If approved, the applicants intend to open admissions in September this year.

For further information on the proposals see application reference RR/2021/557/P on the Rother District Council website.