The Bestic Trust, through its objects, promotes education in the parish of Uplyme primarily by supporting the needs of Mrs Ethelstons CE Primary School
The Trustees of the Ethelston & Bestic School Foundation own the existing school site which was donated to the trust by the Reverend Ethelston, rector of Uplyme, in 1854. A bequest was also made to the trust by the Reverend Bestic in 1946. The trust is regulated by the Charity Commission for England & Wales and its registered number is 306751. The trustees have adopted a working name of the Bestic Trust and this has been approved by the Charity Commission.
The Trust’s charitable objects are to make provision for the needs of the school and to promote education in the Parish of Uplyme.
There are currently nine trustees, representing Uplyme Parish (3), Mrs Ethelston’s governing body (2), the Diocesan Board of Education (1), the Parish Council (1), The Acorn Academy (1) and one co-opted trustee.
The school building is Victorian and has served generations of village children well. The site has been developed with the addition of a classroom and staff room upstairs, Woodhaven for foundation years and a portacabin for use as a further classroom.
In 2008 an independent feasibility study was commissioned to review further development of the site but the Diocesan Board of Education, governors and trustees agreed that this was not a realistic solution. The restricted plot size, structure and age of the building mean that it is not able to meet current standards for primary education, nor is there any realistic possibility that future standards can be met, in the longer term, on the current site. The outside play and learning area is very restricted and there is no hall; meals have to be eaten in classrooms and shortage of space causes significant operational problems. The school currently has 186 pupils.
The Uplyme Parish Plan developed in 2005/6 supported the development of a new school on the fields adjacent to the Village Hall by almost 4:1. Similarly the new school is identified on this site in the Neighbourhood Plan published in July 2017.
Over the years various potential sites for a new school had been considered and found to be unsuitable but in 2013 the Bestic Trust acquired the site next to the village hall, having obtained outline planning permission for a new school. This was supported by 107 out of 109 respondents to a public exhibition and questionnaire. Outline planning permission has subsequently been renewed.
The development of the new school on this site is also an exciting opportunity to address many of the wider issues of the current school. There will be a multi-purpose hall and sufficient parking to greatly improve safety of the children arriving and leaving the school. A large carpark and an astro turf pitch is also planned, both of which will be available for community use outside school hours.
Education has changed enormously since the Bestic Trust was established but the charitable objects set nearly two centuries ago still hold. To meet these objects we are spearheading the commissioning of a new school that fully meets the needs of the community and provides the very best learning opportunities for future generations of children in the Parish.
of village children well.