An educational charity is lining up its next cohort of students for September as it looks to life after Sedlescombe.
Pestalozzi supports high achieving, but low income, students from some of the most disadvantaged communities in the world, providing scholarships to enable them to complete secondary education.
The students then use their new skills to make their home countries a better place.
The charity has operated out of its Ladybird Lane base for the past 60 years.
But due to a lack of funding, last year the charity reached the difficult decision to sell off the 138 acre site.
Speaking to the Observer this week, Pestalozzi CEO Sue Walton said that although the charity is leaving Sedlescombe this summer, the good work of Pestalozzi is set to continue.
Sue said: “We are still going to be providing scholarships, but not from the village.
“It is sad because it is not financially viable for us to run the estate but it is still possible for us to fund scholarships.”
Pestalozzi is hoping to offer scholarships through United World Colleges, which aims to ‘deliver a challenging and transformational educational experience to a deliberately diverse group of young people, inspiring them to become agents of positive change’.
Sue said: “We think the first group may be five students, but it could be slightly more or less depending on funding.
“We know this is absolutely the right way forward for us because UWC teaches the International Baccalaureate Diploma which fits perfectly with the Pestalozzi philosophy of and education for the ‘head, heart and hands’.”
She added that linking with UWC would give Pestalozzi the flexibility of offering varying numbers of scholarships based on availability of funds.
Sue added: “We cannot do that here. We have fixed overheads and commitments.”
Pestalozzi students had previously studied at Sussex Coast College and, since 2016, at Claremont Sixth Form.
But it is not yet known where the next cohort will study.
Sue said: “UWC have colleges all over the world, so it could be anywhere from Swaziland to South Wales!
“Watch this space.”
The Pestalozzi Village site was sold subject to contract at the end of last year, but the identity of the buyer remains under wraps.
A CELEBRATION OF SIX DECADES
The Pestalozzi International Village is planning to host a weekend of events in June to mark the end of 60 years in Sedlescombe.
On Friday June 28, there are plans for a photos and memories night, accompanied by a curry supper.
Former students, staff, volunteers and supporters are welcome to come and share stories about life at Pestalozzi.
On Saturday June 29, a group called the Early Pestalozzi Children’s Project plan to hold an event, with details to be confirmed.
And on Sunday June 30, Pestalozzi will host a Tea With A Twist.
Sue explains: “There will be afternoon tea and cake and talks from staff and students about the future and how we want the programme to continue.
“By then we can share precisely what we are doing and how we can encourage people to continue with their support.”
Speaking about the current cohort of students, the last to stay in the village, Sue said: “All the students we have here at the moment have the potential to do something wonderful with the educational opportunity Pestalozzi has given them.
“We are definitely going to miss them being here on the site.”
She added: “For me personally, it’s been the best job I have ever had.
“It’s going to be sad for us not to have that one to one with students the way we have had over many years but we are pleased that the scholarship programme will continue in its new form.”