Key results

Highlighted key benefits

Ensured planning approval for the school

Prospective parents began applying

The Challenge

Cavendish, a school for 11-16 year olds in Eastbourne, was asked by the local authority if it would develop a two form entry primary school to help meet the need for school places in the town.  The project would involve considerable investment from the local authority to construct a brand new building and make improvements to the existing one.  The school agreed to the project as it would benefit older pupils and support the local community by providing school places close to where they were needed.

However, there was considerable opposition from local residents, who were concerned that increasing the size of the school would impact negatively on their lives.  Their arguments included increase in traffic, parking problems and noise. They enlisted the support of local councillors who tried to get the project stopped.  There was a genuine concern that planning approval might not be given and the scheme would have to be withdrawn.


Our job was to turn the tide of public objection, nurture the reputation of the existing school and create a positive buzz about the new primary school, specifically:

  • To ensure that the project was given planning approval
  • To ensure that staff and parents of existing students were on board
  • To communicate with local residents so that their concerns could be addressed
  • To showcase the project publically – in the local media
  • To ensure that prospective parents applied for places at the new school

The Outcome

Since working with Cavendish we have:

  • We highlighted the key benefits of the school – i.e. the lack of school places, benefits of an all-through school in the community
  • We kept the communication flowing through the media, events, leaflets and social media
  • We managed the concerns and objections of residents in public meetings and on a case-by-case basis
  • We identified and worked with key opinion formers and ambassadors to encourage word of mouth support
  • We created videos, podcasts and community groups to help spread the key messages
  • We worked closely with the contractors to ensure that there was good communication with local residents during the build

The project was given planning consent and the primary school was built on schedule and opened in September 2016 with all places filled.  It was inspected by OFSTED in spring 2018 and was deemed to be “outstanding”.