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Fears over closure of Rottingdean school
Hundreds of pupils are facing an uncertain future as their school faces closure.
Parents were told on Thursday that St Aubyns in Rottingdean may have to close. Staff were only told the day before and the school held an open evening on Tuesday.
The private school, which can cost parents almost £5,000 per term, blamed the situation on a drop in pupil numbers and the inability to recruit a “suitable” new headteacher to replace Simon Hitchings, who is leaving later this year.
It means the 189 pupils will now have to find places elsewhere come the next academic year should the school close in July.
The school said it was planning a series of meetings to discuss what happens next. It is run by the Cothill Educational Trust, which took over the school last March.
Parent Chloe Rakhshandeh said there had been anxiety over the takeover.
She said: “We were assured that there would be no negative impact of this, and that only good would come of it.
“Now we have received the news the school would be closing in July. It has been handled atrociously.
“Obviously the parents wish for the school to remain open, especially for the poor students who were rehomed when Roedean pre-prep closed and are now going through it again.”
Tim Verdon, the bursar at the Cothill Educational Trust, could not explain why it had been unable to recruit a suitable head, despite the position advertised nationally and several expressions of interest.
Asked if the trust had any indication the school could be in trouble when it was taken over in March, he said there was “always a fear a school could close”.
St Aubyns was founded by Mr CEF Stanford in 1895 as a boys’ boarding prep school.
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said: “We are aware St Aubyns has announced it will be closing at the end of the school's summer term in July.
“We've already received calls from a few parents looking into alternative arrangements.
“Anyone wanting to find out more about how to apply for school places in the city can contact the schools admissions team.”
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