A group of parents hope they can save a school by taking it over.

St Aubyns in Rottingdean announced last week it was to close due to falling pupil numbers.

The school also blamed not being able to find a suitable replacement for the outgoing headteacher Simon Hitchings.

The announcement led to an immediate rallying call from concerned parents and ex-pupils.

They set up a Facebook group called Friends of St Aubyns and held a meeting over the weekend with staff and parents, as well as Adrian Richardson who is director of the Cothill Educational Trust, which runs the school.

A core group of parents decided to develop alternative proposals, including new initiatives for the school’s structure and funding, therefore securing the future of the school.

The non-selective school employs 67 staff and currently has a total of 155 children attending from three years to 13 years.

Financial issues

The Cothill Educational Trust and its accountants are making available the school’s financial and business records.

The trust took over the running of the school in March 2012, but when the school submitted its report to the charity’s commission in June it became clear there might be financial problems.

The report said: “The financial health of the charity remains delicate as all income is expended on the provision of education each year.

“The charity does not have the benefit of any endowed or restricted funds and therefore all bursary and scholarship awards are made from income received in the year.

'Prime location'

“St Aubyns is located in a prime location in East Sussex and owns all of the land and buildings.

“The carrying value of the land and buildings on the Balance Sheet is significantly understated.

“The association of St Aubyns with the Cothill Educational Trust will provide greater financial stability and promises to secure the future of education at St Aubyns.

”That promise fell through and the school is now on the brink. But during Saturday’s meeting, Mr Richardson said the Cothill Educational Trust had not yet taken a decision to close St Aubyns because we can't possibly make a decision like that without meetings such as this”.

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