Rye needs new modern school

Rye College ENGSUS00120130307141954
Rye College ENGSUS00120130307141954

Rye Academy Trust has received a set back in its plan to open a new building on the Lower School site.

The College had asked Rother District Council to register the Lower School site as a ‘Community Asset’.

This would prevent owners Sainsburys from selling the site for a six month period and allow the Academy time to make its case to the Department of Education for a grant for a new school building.

But Rother turned down the request at Officer level and it did not even get as far as Cabinet, despite being backed by both Rye Town Council and the Local Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.

A spokesperson fro the Trust said: “We are disappointed our request for registering the site was turned down.”

There is some positive news though as Sainsburys’ agents had visited the Trust and were ‘understanding and sympathetic’ toward the proposals.

The current college building is costing a huge amount to maintain due to its age

Ann Cockerham

Sainsburys wishes to dispose of the site by 2016. The Trust stresses it has not yet put in an offer or paid any fees.

Rye Academy head Ann Cockerham says the current Rye College building has deteriorated so much that it is no longer financially viable to keep it running.

She said: “The current college building is costing a huge amount to maintain due to its age.

“It will cost £800,000 for heating renewal and there are problems with the sewage system.

“We had a grant for £250,00 last year for re-wiring and its cost £180,000 to replace windows.

“It costs a huge amount of money each year just to keep going. We are no longer viable.

“The land on which the current college stands could be used for housing development. There is a feeling that our land would be more valuable in terms of development than the Lower School site.

“It will take us some time to put our case to the Department of Education.”

Mrs Cockerham, who is Executive Principal of the Rye Academy Trust, says that a new school would have no impact on the public purse.

The Trust comprises Rye College, Rye Studio School and Rye Community Primary School. Together they form the Rye Education Quarter.

Ann Cockerham said: “All schools within the Rye Academy Trust have been judged to be good schools by Ofsted. By working more closely together, we can support one another to provide the outstanding education that our community deserves.”