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Governors say St Bees School could re-open in 2016

St Bees School Credit: ITV Border

Governors of a 400-year-old independent school in west Cumbria set to close this summer say they have identified a number of opportunities that could see the school survive.

It was announced earlier this year that St Bees School would close at the end of the summer term as falling pupil numbers had made its financial position unsustainable.

However, parents of pupils at the school set up a Save St Bees School campaign and the governing body now says the school could re-open in September 2016.

"Over the past month the Governors have identified a number of opportunities for a sustainable future for St Bees School. This work has necessarily been undertaken discretely and without publicity so as not to cause further distraction to the school community.

"The identified opportunities include both independent and maintained school models. However, regardless of the model adopted, the Governors are determined that the outcome will retain the ethos, values and good name of St Bees School.

"As a next stage in the process of securing the future, the Governors have made arrangements for suitably qualified third parties to undertake feasibility and other studies to allow further consideration and more extensive exploration of the available opportunities with relevant parties.

"The Governors intend, as soon as it is practicable to do so and certainly no later than mid-June, to arrange for consultation with all stakeholders and, in particular, the local community.

"The Governors have arranged for the establishment of a small project team of suitably qualified individuals to lead this transition work and it is anticipated that this team will, over the summer, assume many of the incumbent Board’s responsibilities and will form the core of a new Board of Governors as St Bees moves on to a new phase in its development.

It would be premature to speculate on the final outcomes and timescales. However plans are being made for the security and maintenance of assets following the end of the current term and the aim of the Governors is that St Bees School will re-open in September 2016."

– St Bees School Governors

However, the Save St Bees School campaign group has accused the governing body of failing to explain exactly what they mean about the future of the school.

"Once again the Governors have failed in their duty to engage with parents and stakeholders of the school. They announced the school was to close without warning, and now they issue a statement which raises more questions than answers.

"When will the Governors realise they have lost all credibility with parents, pupils, staff and the wider community and how are they going to explain to these stakeholders what this latest statement actually means for the future of our school?"

– Save St Bees School campaign group


Snow disruption: Scottish Borders

School transport has been cancelled for all pupils in the Scottish Borders, as a result of heavy snow.

Only pupils that can safely walk to school should be attending.

Parents and pupils are being urged to consider the amber warning in place for later today, as road conditions are expected to worsen.

A number of schools and nursery schools are fully or partly closed in the Borders, as a result of the conditions.

A full list of school closures is available at the Scottish Borders Council website.