The Flaship School

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New Parent led special free school with high ambitions to be a pioneering school for neuro-diverse pupils with associated social, emotional and mental health needs in Hastings.

There is something exciting happening in Hastings.  A group of parents of neuro-diverse children, many with additional emotional and behavioural needs, have come together with committed professionals to set up a new special school in the town. Led by Helen Kay, a parent of a 16 year old  with ASD and social, emotional and mental health needs, the Trust has high ambitions for their school.

‘There is an absolute lack of provision for this group of children in Hastings and Rother.  Hastings is a deprived town and many children who have experienced difficult starts in their lives struggle in mainstream schools, resulting in many experiencing fixed term and sometimes permanent exclusions, which can have a devastating impact on them and their families.  Our ambition is to provide the inspiring, integrated educational and therapeutic provision that children who are neuro-diverse or who have complex social, emotional or mental health needs require to thrive’, says Kay.

‘Our aim is for our school to be a pioneering school. Our aim is to develop a trauma, attachment and neuro-diverse aware organisation, where every aspect of our school is informed by current  research into  children’s cognitive, psychological and emotional development, so that our children can meet their full potential.’ 

The group came together a number of years ago, initially as a small group of parents concerned about the lack of provision for their children within the area.  After setting up the Trust, Kay persuaded the Local Authority to back the school, as there was a recognised need for additional special school provision for this cohort of children, not just in Hastings, but in the surrounding area. 

The journey has been long and sometimes frustrating; with a lengthy wait whilst a suitable site was found. 

However, the initial group of Trustees are all still involved in the school driving its development forward, to realise its exciting vision and ambition. The aim is for the school to open in September 2021, in a new purpose-built building on the site of the former Helenswood Upper School in Hastings.

The Flagship Trust  is currently aiming to recruit its first Principal Designate to lead the school into its next exciting phase; preparing and staffing the brand new school building and welcoming  the  first cohort of pupils to be placed in the school. This will be an transformative project for an existing or aspiring Head teacher – developing a new, innovative and ambitious school from scratch, and working with a committed group of Trustees.

‘So many of our children have been let down for so long by a lack of specialist provision that can really meet their needs. Our aim is that our school will be at the centre of our community, working in partnership with families, to create an integrated, inclusive and inspiring learning environment where our children can thrive. Recruiting a Principal who has the vision, energy and commitment to lead our school in its next phase is key’. 

‘Hastings is a great place to live. It is a vibrant creative community, with easy access to beautiful countryside; bringing together some of the best aspects of a metropolitan and a country lifestyle.  If you are interested in our school; whether as its next Principal or to support us as we take forward work to develop our school, please contact us and come and join us, on this exciting journey.’

For further information about our school, contact us at and we will respond to your email. 

For further information about the school, contact Helen Kay on 0796 677 8257