Impressive achievements at Eastbourne schools

Water Buffalo at West Rise. Photo by David Ford.
Water Buffalo at West Rise. Photo by David Ford.

Caroline Ansell

But as a teacher myself, it is always rewarding to see schools get the recognition they deserve.

A couple of weeks ago the extraordinary West Rise Primary School in Langney won the prestigious TES ‘Primary School of the Year’!

This was no surprise to me; I’ve visited a number of times, including just a few weeks ago, and I have always been 
impressed at the innovative ways headteacher Mike Fairclough finds to keep his school one of the most interesting and exciting anywhere in the country.

This school has it own bee colony, water buffalo, farmyard animals and even its own Bronze Age settlement!

An extraordinary and 
wonderful achievement and I was delighted to see them win the prize they so richly deserve.

It was also wonderful to see Gildredge House School being judged ‘outstanding’ in its first OFSTED inspection.

This is a remarkable achievement, given that the school has only been opened two years.

The free school movement is having such a positive effect on education both locally and nationally, and the vision and commitment is evident as soon as you walk through the door.

I thoroughly enjoyed attending the grand opening last weekend, as well as the summer fair, and having the chance to tour the school again, meeting teachers, parents and pupils.

In the last few days I have also had really interesting visits to The Causeway School and I met with the Chairman of Governors from Bishop Bell.

Following on from these meetings I am also signing up to a campaign to press the government to look again at the funding formula for schools, which could see a significant increase in budgets for local schools.

Schools receive a large proportion of their budgets based on a set amount per 
pupil, and this could increase by more than £100 per pupil with a fairer funding arrangement.

In post 16 education, specifically at Sussex Downs College there remain challenges.

At the time of writing I was pleased to see that there are negotiations underway to help address some of the issues there.

I have had a number of letters and emails on this subject and I am looking forward to meeting with some of the key players over the next few weeks.