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England rugby boss hopes former school can be saved

The England Head Coach Stuart Lancaster told ITV News that he is "absolutely gutted" about the proposed closure of his former school. He also said he first developed his love of rugby at St Bees School on the West Cumbrian coast.

Since Friday's shock announcement that the school is to shut because of dwindling pupil numbers, a huge campaign has been started to save it.

Last night parents and governors met for the first time since the news was announced last week. Hannah McNulty has this report:

Stuart Lancaster 'absolutely gutted' over St Bees school closure

Stuart Lancaster has told ITV News he's 'absolutely gutted' about the closure of his former school. The England rugby coach developed his love of the game at St Bees school on the west Cumbrian coast.

Governors announced on Friday the independent school in west Cumbria will close in the summer due to falling students numbers.

Hundreds of parents and local community members attend meeting

St Bees School Credit: ITV Border News

A 'rescue team' has been formed to try and help save the historic St Bees school from closure.

It was created at a meeting on Monday night of hundreds of parents and local community members. The team of 12 intends to carry out a viability study as its first task. One parent, Hillary Carter, whose son is at the school, estimated 700 people were at the meeting.

Governors announced on Friday the independent school in west Cumbria is set to close in the summer due to dwindling students numbers. They say the school's financial position is "unsustainable".

A Parents and Governors meeting is being held on Wednesday when more details will be discussed.

Public meeting organised in a bid to save St Bees School

A public meeting is being held tonight in a bid to save St Bees School from closure.

It follows the announcement that the 400-year-old school will close.

The 300 pupils, their parents and staff were told the news on Friday. The school governors says that declining numbers since the economic crisis of 2008 have made the school's financial position unsustainable.

Parents, former teachers and members of the community are among those attending the meeting at the school's Memorial Hall at 7.30 pm.

"We are very sad to hear of the impending closure of St Bees School. It has a long and distinguished history of providing education in west Cumbria – and has close links with the Church. The Bishop of Carlisle, who is away on sabbatical at the moment, is one of the Governors, and the Vicar at St Bees is also the chaplain at the school.

"The school has over the years educated the children of many church people, including the children of clergy, and all that it has offered has been greatly appreciated.

"We want to pay particular tribute to the Headmaster, Mr James Davies, and the all the staff – teaching and non-teaching – for their work. The Headmaster especially has worked tirelessly to turn the school around, and had made great strides.

"Sadly the background of comparatively small numbers in the wider and local catchment areas, hard pressed family finances, and a complex global situation making it difficult to recruit international boarders, all mean that the school has proved in the end not to be financially sustainable.

"We know that the School will do all it can for all those affected by the closure. Many in the county will keep them in their prayers over the coming weeks."

– Dave Roberts, Carlisle Diocese


Four-hundred year-old West Cumbrian school to close

The school is to close at the end of the summer term. Credit: St Bees School

A West Cumbrian school that's been open for more than 400 years is to close.

St Bees School offers boarding and day education. It will shut at the end of the 2015 summer term, the governors have announced.

That's because of declining recruitment, particularly since the economic crisis in 2008, and the school's financial position is now untenable.

“The governors have considered every possible solution. They wish to acknowledge publicly the untiring effort the Headmaster and his team have put into our recent recruitment campaigns, both day and boarding. We also recognise the financial and other support the school has received from a number of sources, most notably the Old St Beghians. Without that support, it is likely that we would have reached this point much earlier.

“We examined carefully the possibility of converting the school to a non-fee-charging Free School. However, the funding formula available from central government would not be sufficient to sustain a feasible business plan for the school, even assuming that the government were to approve our application

“We have concluded, however, that the only practical option left open to us is, while there are still the resources to do so, to close the school in as orderly and considerate a manner as possible.

– Chairman of Governors, Emeritus Professor Frank Woods

“This is a desperately sad day for all of us. We have worked extremely hard to try to avoid this outcome but what matters now, the governors’ decision having been made, is to ensure that our pupils and staff suffer as little as possible.

“All my efforts for the next four months will be to ensure that pupils continue to receive top-quality education and pastoral care, that examination candidates are not distracted, that parents receive help and support in trying to place their children in other schools and that we do everything possible to support our exceptional staff.”

– Headmaster James Davies

Stay hydrated: children learn from Queen of the South

Queen of the South players have been giving schoolchildren advice on staying hydrated. Credit: ITV Border

Schoolchildren have been to see Queen of the South players as part of the H20 programme, run by Scottish Water, SPFL and the Doonhamers.

Each 90 minute session sees the children discuss the importance of staying hydrated, before taking part in a football session:

Laptops worth £15,000 stolen from Maryport school

Thirty laptops were taken from the school. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Thirty laptops, worth around £15,000, have been stolen from a school in Maryport.

The burglary occurred at the Our Lady and St Patricks Catholic Primary School on Ennerdale Road, at approximately 2.15am on March 10.

The offender forced entry into the school before taking the laptops, and setting off an alarm.

“This burglary has caused great upset for the school as the laptops are an important tool in the education of the children that go there. We call on members of the community to help us with this investigation and pass on any information they may have.

“We would also like to hear from anyone who is offered a laptop at a price suspiciously lower than its value.”

– Detective Sergeant George Atkinson, West Cumbria CID
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