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Stanbridge head optimistic school can stay open
9:50am Monday 12th August 2013 in Romsey
PARENTS have made a “hugely positive” response to a plea by a head teacher to keep a troubled Hampshire school open.
Maggie McMurray, head of Stanbridge Earls, near Romsey, is optimistic that enough pupils will be signed up for the school to start classes again next month.
The school, pictured, which is at the centre of sex abuse claims, may have to close unless enough parents sign up their children for classes starting in September.
The £39,000-a-year school had asked parents to commit to another term by last Friday (August 9).
Ms McMurray would not be drawn on whether numbers signed up would be enough to re-open next term.
She said the school would not be in a position to give an answer to parents on whether it had sufficient numbers until Tuesday (August 13).
But she did add: “We have had a hugely positive response. We have still got a few we’re waiting on. We’re optimistic, but we’ll see on Tuesday.”
In a letter to parents earlier this week, Jenny Ringo, acting chairman of governors, said the school has been advised it could not re-open next term without sufficient numbers of pupils.
She asked parents to give a decision by yesterday and pay fees for the term by August 15 into a ring-fenced trust account.
If the school was unable to open in September, this would be refunded.
As previously reported, negotiations for a takeover of the site by More House School, in Frensham, Surrey, to run it as a sister facility collapsed earlier this month.
The school hopes that by opening in September it will have more time to finalise current discussions and pursue other options.
Ms Ringo added: “However, if we do not secure a suitable partner or income stream, then the focus of the term will, I’m sad to say, switch to finding places for the children at other schools.”
It follows a Special Educational Needs (SEN) and Disability Tribunal earlier this year, which found that Stanbridge Earls had discriminated against a girl and that staff failed to tell the youngster’s parents that she had complained of pain in an intimate part of her body.
The tribunal found that a vulnerable youngster had suffered “appalling abuse” at the hands of another student, while the school was slammed by panel members for being “unsystematic, unprofessional, ad hoc and completely inadequate” in protecting the youngster.
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