Sponsor chosen to run academy school in Hailsham

A sponsor has been chosen to run a new primary academy school in Hailsham, East Sussex County Council has announced.

A consultation into building a new school in Ingrams Way was launched in August after Wealden District Council unveiled its Strategic Sites Local Plan, which will see around 3,000 homes built in the district.

Because of the increased number of children new housing will bring in Hailsham, the county council successfully bid for Government funding to establish a new primary school in the south of the town.

The consultation also aimed to attract potential sponsors to run the school and the county council has announced Lilac Sky will manage the academy, which is set to open in 2015. Academies are independent and not maintained by the local authority.

Although, the proposal, funding and sponsor have been agreed by the secretary of state, the building of the school is still subject to the usual planning process and residents can have their say on the plans.

Cllr Nick Bennett, the council’s Lead Member for Schools and Learning Effectiveness, said: “We already commission Lilac Sky to provide support to help improve outcomes at some of our schools and we welcome the news that they will be the sponsor.

“Lilac Sky has a track record of offering outstanding provision, securing good outcomes for students and working closely with local communities. We look forward to working together as the new schools are established.”

The new school is scheduled to open in September 2015 and will create 210 primary places.

A spokesman for Lilac Sky Schools said: “Schools’ Minister David Laws announced that 39 new academies are to be built under the government’s Targeted Basic Needs Programme (TBNP). Of Lilac Sky’s three academies one will be in Newhaven, one in Hailsham, and one in Folkestone. We look forward to welcoming these new academies to our family of schools and to providing an outstanding education for the children who attend them.”

The proposal met a mixed reaction from residents when it was first mooted with some supporting it while others raised concerns about parking and traffic issues.

Cllr David White, chairman of Hellingly Parish Council, also raised concerns, claiming the school will be too small to meet the needs of the town and should be built in the north of Hailsham where the majority of housing will be.

Speaking in October, the council said a subsequent phase is planned for a new two form entry primary school north of the town.