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Ray of hope in the battle to save Rottingdean school
Parents believe they are on the brink of saving a primary school from closure after putting forward a £2 million rescue plan.
The parents of pupils at St Aubyns in Rottingdean believe they have convinced the school’s current backers the Cothill Eductional Trust that they have a detailed plan to rescue the school.
A team of parents – including financiers, lawyers, marketing and education experts – have put together a bid to counter the trust’s plans to close the school and have been receiving advice from a local independent school.
They claim, following a meeting with Cothill trustees on Monday, March 18 that they have received assurances the school will not close while all options are explored.
Cate Blanchett and Nick Cave both sent children to the school, which charges up to £15,000 a year.
It was announced last month the private school would close due to falling student numbers and a failure to recruit a replacement for outgoing headteacher Simon Hitchings.
During the past three weeks, parents have been working towards the formation of a new educational trust and developed a fully costed business plan focusing on the school's nursery and pre-prep.
Former alumni and parents have also pledged a financial “backstop” of £2 million to ensure the school makes it through its current period of uncertainty.
The Argus understands the independent school involved in the rescue plan is Hurstpierpoint College, with representatives from the school set to hold formal negotiations with Cothill tomorrow.
The newly formed trust has also brought in specialist recruitment consultants to launch a search for a replacement headmaster to take over from Mr Hitchings who leaves in the summer.
St Aubyns parent Ros Northmore said: “I think it's the very best we could have expected at this stage.”
Cothill Educational Trust bursar Tim Verdon said: “We can confirm we will be holding talks with another independent school about the possibility of entering into some sort of arrangement to allow St Aubyns to continue.
“We are trying to find a way to keep St Aubyns open and to keep the staff employed.”
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