St Margaret's parents plan rescue bid to save school
St Margaret’s parents are to attempt a rescue bid to save the school from closure.
Parents and interested parties were invited to a meeting on Thursday night to discuss the decision to close St Margaret’s School by School governors.
School governors, representatives of the school’s owners and acting headteacher Lee Bergin were present at the meeting where emotions ran high.
One parent, who was tweeting live from the meeting, said:
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‘There are pupils in floods of tears here. I can assure them there were many tears among the parents & staff at this meeting.’
The School is set to close at the end of August, following a decision last year to close the sixth form.
Senior management at the 110-year-old school on Magdalen Road confirmed the decision had been made because the school was no longer “financially viable”.
Headmaster Lee Bergin told the Echo that the decision to close had been taken with a “heavy heart” and added that he was “very sorry” about it.
However the Parent’s Action Group are discussing the idea of a rescue bid to see ‘what might be possible’.
James A, or @ExeterDormouse on Twitter, who was at the meeting posted:
‘The challenge now for the parents' Action Group is to come up with a proposal to either fund another 12 months or buy the school.’ Adding: ‘We have 2 weeks to do it.’
Five reasons why the plans will be a ‘tough task’ were then listed by the parent:
1: ‘The Governors have taken irrevocable decisions that make a rescue financially much harder’
2: ’Parents have no choice now but to seek alternative schools for their children, diminishing buy-in to a rescue.’
3: ‘Teachers have no choice but to seek new jobs, meaning that the character of a saved school would lack the same ethos’
4: ‘Woodard are unlikely to want to concede a rescue plan is viable’
5: A rescue plan would be unlikely to be able to compete with the profits Woodard would make from developing the properties.
6: For many of the parents & friends of StM's, anger is likely to outweigh the urge to engage in a rescue.
Suggestions have been made that the school has already had valuations carried out on the land with regard to redevelopment. You can read William Long’s, Chair of Governors, response to this and more question posed to him by the Echo here.
Read the live posts from the meeting below