Future of St Aubyn's School in Rottingdean is soon to be decided

The Argus: Future of St Aubyn's School in Rottingdean is soon to be decided Future of St Aubyn's School in Rottingdean is soon to be decided

The future of an independent school threatened with closure is set to be decided within a matter of days.

Parents of pupils at St Aubyns in Rottingdean are “optimistic” that an agreement is set to be reached with Hurstpierpoint College to take over the running of the school before summer term starts next week.

Current backers the Cothill Eductional Trust, who announced in February that the school was set to close this summer, have been in negotiations with Hurstpierpoint governors over the last week.

It is understood that the trust has made a proposal to the college and has requested an urgent response or counter proposal to clear the uncertainty hanging over the school.

Redundancy procedures have started this week for staff in order to give teachers statutory 12 week notice, but this could be withdrawn if Hurstpierpoint College reach an agreement.

No details of the agreement have been released, but it is understood that the school would remain independent and non-exclusive.

One parent described the link as similar to the arrangement between St Andrew’s and Eastbourne College.

The trust have said that if an agreement is not reached with Hurstpierpoint, the school will close this summer, but parents believe they could step in if talks fail.

They have formed an educational trust and gathered a war chest of more than £2 million from wealthy alumni and have the option of selling a piece of land for a substantial seven-figure sum.

Parents are optimistic that the talks will yield a positive impact stating that the trust’s charitable status means they are obliged to make Hurstpierpoint a reasonable offer as part of their duty of care to the students’ education.

One parent said: “Cotehill Trust must be a reasonable one if the trust are properly discharging their duties.”

Another parent said: “It’s a lightning bolt away from where we were five weeks ago and we as a group of parents are very hopeful this can be resolved.”

Tim Verdon, bursar at the Cothill Trust, said: “Our trustees have met and agreed to put a specific proposal to Hurstpierpoint College, which if they accept they will take over St Aubyns.

“Trustees have been in negotiations with Hurstpierpoint governors and asked them to respond as a quickly as they can so the current uncertainty can be resolved.”

Comments (4)

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4:11pm Fri 5 Apr 13

jeremy radvan says...

The problem with private schools as a business model is that when the school is worth more as a site than as a school the owners sell it from under the children as they did with St Mary's Hall. What a disreputable business.
The problem with private schools as a business model is that when the school is worth more as a site than as a school the owners sell it from under the children as they did with St Mary's Hall. What a disreputable business. jeremy radvan

9:03pm Fri 5 Apr 13

Heathian says...

Jeremy, that is exactly why they are charities not businesses. Every single school in the country could be sold for its playing fields (a lot of state schools have already sold them off). Trustees have a Duty - much deeper than a Director's responsibilities - and (even if some Trustees of other schools have not always behaved impeccably in the past) the Trustees of Cothill are committed to their educational responsibilities. St Aubyns will NOT be another development site!
Jeremy, that is exactly why they are charities not businesses. Every single school in the country could be sold for its playing fields (a lot of state schools have already sold them off). Trustees have a Duty - much deeper than a Director's responsibilities - and (even if some Trustees of other schools have not always behaved impeccably in the past) the Trustees of Cothill are committed to their educational responsibilities. St Aubyns will NOT be another development site! Heathian

10:01pm Fri 5 Apr 13

jeremy radvan says...

When was the last time a charity was bought up by another? does MENCAP launch an aggressive takeover of OXFAM, do we see the RSPCA courting the National Trust? The charitable status of these educationally based businesses is a convenient book keeping device. I did not mention the schools playing fields, but as you bought the subject up, in which universe can a charity sell off an asset for a 7 figure sum in order to see it through a sticky patch?The cloying atmosphere of self-righteous self-pity that pervades these institutions is quite nauseating.
When was the last time a charity was bought up by another? does MENCAP launch an aggressive takeover of OXFAM, do we see the RSPCA courting the National Trust? The charitable status of these educationally based businesses is a convenient book keeping device. I did not mention the schools playing fields, but as you bought the subject up, in which universe can a charity sell off an asset for a 7 figure sum in order to see it through a sticky patch?The cloying atmosphere of self-righteous self-pity that pervades these institutions is quite nauseating. jeremy radvan

7:58am Sat 6 Apr 13

Saecula verax says...

I presume that parents and Argus reporters are aware that Hurst is part of the Woodard schools group. You may also like to look at their website , read about St Margaret's, Exeter and maybe search for views about how that school was closed down by Woodard..
I presume that parents and Argus reporters are aware that Hurst is part of the Woodard schools group. You may also like to look at their website , read about St Margaret's, Exeter and maybe search for views about how that school was closed down by Woodard.. Saecula verax

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