Newlands School in Seaford closes

Newlands School Seaford.
Newlands School Seaford.

An independent school in Seaford closed its doors this week for good.

Children at Newlands School in Eastbourne Road had their last day on Wednesday July 9.

What will happen to the landmark Edwardian building, with 17 acres of grounds, remains unclear.

A spokesperson for the school told the Sussex Express: “It is with great sadness that we must announce that Newlands School is to close at the end of the summer term.

“The school’s proprietors since 2009, Beaconhouse Educational Services, announced they would be withdrawing their financial support at the end of the academic year and have subsequently been unable to satisfactorily transfer the lease.”

The school said staff, parents and pupils have continued to support the school to the end of term and looked for new investment.

Seaford MP Norman Baker and a parent group also sought ways for the school to continue.

The future of the site as a school remains uncertain.

Seaford Gymnastics Club, which operated at the school, said: “As you can imagine, this has caused considerable upset to all those involved, including children as young as three years of age, and will have a significant on-going negative impact due to the splitting up of established teams and friendships that have been built over many years.”

Seaford MP Norman Baker said: “The announcement of the closure of Newlands School is extremely regrettable and a sad day for Seaford.

“It is unfortunate for the community which will lose a good school, for the staff who now find themselves out of work, but most especially for the children, who will have their education uprooted.

“I have had ongoing contact with staff, parents and supporters and real efforts have been made to try and save the school and identify investors, and their efforts should be applauded.

“With the announcement of the closure of the school it is important that there is full community engagement about what should happen to the site.

“In particular, it is important that these green lungs are not lost to development.”

Newlands School head teacher Tula Dyer added: “This is a tragedy for the current pupils and parents as well as the local community who regularly hire its facilities.

“We are devastated that this unique school will not be able to continue as it has long played a pivotal role in the lives of the children of Seaford and surrounding areas.”

Parents at Seaford Gymnastics Club have been signing a petition calling on the leaseholder of Newlands School to allow club members to continue using the gymnastics hall while a use is found for the site.

The club has a lot of large pieces of equipment, much of which was bought with fundraising money which will only fit a substantially sized gym, which makes it hard to make alternative arrangements.

It is also arguing allowing sports clubs to stay would give the leaseholder a source of income.

Seaford and Newlands ABC (Amateur Boxing Club) is another group which has been made homeless by the school’s closure.