New School

The Bestic Trust is delighted to spearhead the development of a new sustainable school for Uplyme.

Since opening in 1854 thousands of children have passed through the Trust and the gates of Mrs Ethelston’s school. The Trust, set in the heart of the village of Uplyme for over 160 years, has served the community well, supporting the delivery of outstanding education.

The Story So Far

Wishing to continue to support education in Uplyme and recognising the growing pupil numbers and changing curriculum, in 2008 the Bestic Trust and Mrs Ethelston's school governors commissioned an independent review of the current school.

Unsurprisingly, the review found that the current school on Pound Lane could no longer meet the standard required to deliver the curriculum and any future development of the current site to meet these needs would be impossible.

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. With growing numbers and ever demanding curriculum this is only going to get worse.

Pupil Numbers

On average there have been 180 pupils attending the existing school for the last decade. Currently there are 195 on roll and from September 2021 it is expected that there will be more than 200.

Applying modern capacity criteria to the existing school footprint it would most likely be considered suitable to educate approximately 90 children on the site. School place provision requirements are determined by predicted birth rates which forecast a trend of declining needs across the South West.

Local experience has contradicted this for some time and the pattern of growth has accelerated significantly post pandemic with Axminster, Lyme Regis and Charmouth schools all at capacity or above.

The Vision

This project is an exciting opportunity to address many of the wider issues of the current school, support the community and safeguard primary education in Uplyme for generations to come. Our vision is to unlock the potential of Uplyme and to enable the school to provide outstanding education in the 21st century and beyond.

The new school will:

  • create a stimulating learning environment to meet curriculum needs both indoors and out

  • establish a community hub where young and old can learn together

  • deliver a community resource that can be enjoyed by all

  • be carbon neutral and tread lightly on the environment

The Site

Responding to the findings of the education review, Uplyme Parish Plan and Neighbourhood plan, in 2013 the Bestic Trust acquired the site next to Uplyme village hall, having obtained outline planning permission for a new school.

The Proposal

Teaching practices have changed since Mrs Ethelston's was built with more emphasis on a variety of teaching and learning styles.

The proposal creates an imaginative and flexible school both inside and out. Each classroom will have direct access to a partially covered outdoor classroom area, and a vibrant outdoor area that can be used throughout the year for playing and learning.

Engaging with NetZero, one of the countries leading sustainable school designers and manufacturers the proposal is to build a new purpose built school that supports learning for generations to come.

The proposal includes:

  • Construction of a new two story, 7 classroom school complete with school hall, administration facilities and storage space.

  • A car-park including a safe drop-off and collection point for pupils

  • Improved access to site via Lyme Road.

  • MUGA for team sports and outdoor play

  • Landscaped grounds for outdoor learning, reflection and creative play

Video includes virtual walk through of the new school.

Share our vision

The project itself provides the opportunity to enhance the curriculum taught in school today, not only securing the legacy of 1854 but creating an environment that will nurture and inspire children to develop a love for learning that stays throughout their lives.

Already we are seeing subject areas are be developed to align with the construction process, and used to inspire teaching of the arts and environmental study. The children are already using the site to examine ecology and learn how to garden. Forest school operates there during the holidays and there are plans to run more events to engage the wider community.

100% Education 0% Carbon

As part of the initial design brief, environmental credentials were of high priority. The resulting building has been designed to consume as little energy as possible whilst generating as much as possible from a clean, renewable source - 100% education 0% carbon.

Timeline to opening

Detailed planning permission has already been granted, and, subject to funding and building regulation approval it is our aim to start building the school in 2023.

Our anticipated key milestones are:

  • Autumn 2021
    AMAT submits application to Government for capital funding

  • Spring 2022
    Outcome of Government funding application received Seek alternative or residual funding to enable the project to proceed

  • Autumn 2022
    Water and power on site
    Building regulation approval sought from East Devon Council

  • Spring 2023
    Tenders sought from approved contractors

  • Autumn 2023
    Appoint approved contractor

  • Spring 2024
    All core funding in place
    Commemorate exactly 150 years after the opening of the current school

  • Autumn 2024
    Pupils welcomed into new school for start of new school year.

Raising the funds to build

Initial estimates for the project indicate that a fully equipped school will cost in the region of £5.5M.

Initial indications are that the core build could be financed through capital funding provided by the Government. However, it is unlikely that given uncertainty around capital funding for education by the Government that this will be sufficient to equip and finish the school.

This will mean that further funding will be sought from alternative sources including national organisations and trusts, sponsors, private benefactors and members of the community.

" As education changes we too must evolve to continue the legacy given to Uplyme by the Reverend Ethelston over 160 years ago. The facilities the new school will provide are exceptional, not only in terms of education provision but also sport and recreational activities and it is these things in combination that will support pupils in the whole development of their mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing."

Martin Whitehead - Chair of Trustees