School to close due to falling numbers and financial issues

Lavant House School
Lavant House School
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Lavant House School is to close.

Falling pupil numbers and an “increasingly untenable” financial situation have led to the announcement the 64-year-old independent school will shut at the end of the summer term.

Staff and parents were informed about the closure on Monday.

Marian Scott, chairwoman of governors, said: “Lavant House, a charitable trust, is being professionally advised on its financial affairs following an exceptionally challenging time for the school because of falling pupil numbers over recent years.

“Whilst clearly upsetting for everyone involved at our day and boarding school, the impending closure in an orderly fashion is the right course of action; trustees have a legal duty to act in the charity’s best financial interests.

“Despite a marketing drive to attract more pupils, the financial position was increasingly untenable, with mounting losses.”

Ms Scott said a number of other options were consideredbut proved to be not viable, given the timescales faced by Lavant House.

The options included selling the school, merging with another school, becoming co-educational and increasing the number of overseas borders.

Other suggestions were to raise money by running an English language summer school, selling some of the school’s assets, hosting weddings or restricting the closure to the sixth-form or the junior school.

Confirming all activities planned for the summer term would continue, Ms Scott added: “The governors, many of whom have a long association with the school, should be commended for taking this most difficult of decisions.

“Their co-operation and understanding, and that of the staff and their own professionalism, are exemplary.

“It is too early to say what the future will be for wonderful Lavant House – a number of options will be explored for the property and land.”

Lavant House is an independent day and boarding school for girls aged between five and 18. It opened in 1952 and has approximately 50 teaching and ancillary staff and 85 pupils.

Ms Scott said: “We are proud of our school, of the achievements of our girls and the hard work and enthusiasm of all sections of the staff.

“We hope that all members of the school community will be able to work together and support each other through this term, making it as rewarding as possible.”