South Gloucestershire school announces closure saying it can't afford to stay open

The school has been on this site in Winterbourne since 1992. Credit: Silverhill School

A South Gloucestershire school has told parents it will not reopen next term and must now find new school places for 220 children.

55 members of staff at Silverhill School in Winterbourne have also been made redundant as the school announced the coronavirus pandemic has made it financially impossible for them to continue.

After 14 years in charge of the independent preparatory school and day nursery Headmistress Jenifer Capper and her husband Julian, who is principal and bursar, said they have been "working tirelessly" for two years to secure the future of the school.

“We are sincerely sorry" Husband and Wife Mr and Mrs Capper have been running the school for 14 years. Credit: Silverhill School

Mrs Capper also apologised to parents for informing them of this news ahead of the last week of term.

“We are sincerely sorry that this is the case and that we have had to make this announcement so close to the end of the school term. We appreciate this is not ideal but, whilst we have been open in respect of the challenges we face, we have sought to delay making any formal announcement regarding closure in the hope that we could find a solution.   

“We are working with South Gloucestershire Council and other independent schools in the area so that parents can make the right choices for their children. Meanwhile staff are being consulted and informed about the future and we are taking legal advice to ensure they are supported and that due processes are followed.” 

Ofsted rated Silverhill school 'Inadequate' after an inspection in February 2020. Credit: Ofsted

The £9,500-a-year private school had lodged a formal complaint against Oftsed after they received an inadequate rating from their February 2020 inspection.

The report said school leaders "do not understand or fulfil their legal duties regarding safeguarding" and need to make sure adults are appropriately vetted before they're employed at the school.

Silverhill School opened on its former site in nearby Rudgeway in 1949 and moved to its current site in Winterbourne in 1992. 

The school buildings and 9.5 acre grounds off Swan Lake will now be put up for sale.

The school leaders say they are now working with South Gloucestershire Council to find alternatives for parents and their children.

They are also holding consultations with the 21 full-time and 34 part-time staff to help them find new employment.