Welcome to our public consultation page for the exciting proposals for the Flagship School’s new campus on the site of the former Ark Helenswood Upper School, The Ridge, Hastings.

A planning application for these proposals is due to be submitted to Hastings Borough Council shortly, and we are providing you with the opportunity to view and comment in advance of the submission. The proposed development is being designed and constructed by Eco Modular Buildings and funded by the Department for Education (DfE).

Eco Modular Buildings, the DfE and the Flagship Trust value the input of the local community in developing the vision for the school and would welcome your comments on the proposed development. Details of how to comment are provided below.


The Flagship School will be a special education needs (SEN) school for neuro-diverse pupils from ages 7 to 16  (Year 3 to year 11) who have high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder and/or a range of associated social, emotional and mental health difficulties. The school aims to provide a holistic learning environment which has high aspirations for all of its pupils to progress academically, therapeutically and socio-behaviourally, preparing them for full, independent lives.

The Flagship School Trust was founded by a group of local parents of neuro-diverse children who had grown concerned about the lack of suitable education provision within the Hastings and Rother area. Over the past few years, the Trust has worked closely with a number of committed professionals and the Local Authority to secure a suitable site to accommodate a new purpose-built campus capable of providing a safe and inclusive teaching environment for its pupils. East Sussex County Council has actively supported the development of the school and will be responsible for allocating places at the school for pupils with Education and Health Care plans. More information on the Flagship School Trust can be found on their website: www.theflagshipschool.org.uk.

The new school will accommodate up to 72 pupils and will be situated on the eastern part the former Ark Helenswood Upper School site. In order to make way for the new Flagship school, the former Ark school building will be partially demolished.

The new school is smaller than the previous one. As a result, there is some additional land and a building which is not needed by the school, on the western side of the site. The landowner (the Department for Education) will consider how it may best be used.

A series of plans and computer-generated images of the proposals are provided below. In summary, the new campus will comprise of a single 2-storey school building located within the northern part of the site and fronting onto The Ridge. A car park will be provided to the front of the school building with external play and teaching areas; a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA); and sports pitches located to the rear of the school building and within the southern part of the site.

The school building itself will house teaching spaces, dining areas and a main hall. The design team have worked closely with the Trust to ensure that the building and wider campus is functional and suitable for the needs of its pupils. The building is modern and simple in form and will be finished in a mixture brickwork, timber cladding and blue cladding that evokes the shoreline of Hastings; the beach, the Pier and the sea. The materials and colours are indicated on the elevations available below.

The proposals will result in the loss of some trees on site, however, existing trees along the northern, eastern and western boundaries will be retained and supplemented by additional landscaping and tree planting.

Vehicular and pedestrian access into the campus will utilise the existing access taken from The Ridge and will include a pickup and drop off area, dedicated staff car park and space for bikes and scooters. Highway and traffic assessments are currently being carried out. However, given that the new school will accommodate far fewer pupils than the former Ark school, it anticipated that the proposals will generate less traffic than the former school.

The new school building will be of modular construction which delivers a number of sustainability benefits as well as significantly reducing on-site construction time and disruption when compared to traditional methods. Subject to planning approval, it is anticipated that the school will open in September 2021.


This project creates an opportunity to provide much needed educational facilities to this part of Hastings.

We would welcome any feedback you may have on the proposed development. Please send any comment you may have to jessica.knight@dppukltd.com who will log your comments and answer any questions you may have.

Alternatively, if you prefer not to use a computer, please feel free to post your comments to:

DPP, One Park Row, Leeds, LS1 5HN

We would appreciate your comments on or before the 18th December 2020.

Once the planning application has been submitted, full details will be available on Hastings Council’s website and there will be a further opportunity to comment. 

We look forward to receiving your comments on the proposed development. 

Site Aerial View

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Proposed Landscape Layout

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Proposed External Visuals

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Proposed Internal Visuals

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Proposed Ground Floor Plan

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Proposed First Floor Plan

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Proposed Elevations

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