Business plan to save Worcester school rejected by trustees

Business plan to save Worcester school rejected by trustees

Business plan to save Worcester school rejected by trustees

First published in News
Last updated

A BUSINESS plan which looked at saving the folding St Mary's School has been branded as "too risky" by the school's trustees and has been rejected.

The Parent Acton Group (PAG) presented the board of Trustees at the Battenhall independent school with an extensive five-year financial plan for the school and £120,000 in pledges and contributions but before a meeting was held on Monday night to discuss more details with parents, trustee chairman Andrew Cleary emailed to reject the proposal.

Steven Borwell-Fox, PAG spokesman, said: "The PAG has been unable to convince the trustees to change their decision to close the school.

"The trustees were impressed that such an accurate plan had been put together, and we thought they were warming to our proposal."

The plan including pessimistic, realistic and optimistic pupil numbers per year group for September onwards to make three financial models and was presented with more than £72,000 of advance fees and donations had been pledged by parents, old girls, neighbours and people from all over the City of Worcester, and from all over the world on Sunday.

By Monday morning more than £100,000 had been pledged.

However, an email had been received from Mr Cleary on Monday morning dampening spirits, stating that the trustees could not support the plan as it was "too risky".

The PAG members were said to be incredibly disappointed at Monday evening's PAG meeting, with some parents wanting to fight on and the fundraising total now stands at more than £120,000.

"Unfortunately, none of us are in control of the trust," said Mr Borwell-Fox. "We have influenced them a little, but the current trustees are unwilling to stand down."

The PAG now has until the end the week to raise at least another £80,000 for the plan to become viable, £280,000 to reach the minimum needed to reopen the school, or £380,000 to ideally open the school and have enough if a major repair was needed in the first six months. Any philanthropic bAckers would be repaid over a three- to 10-year period.

“If people want to save the school they have to phone everyone they know and exhaust all their personal and business contacts. Time is against us. The school needs cash plus pupils for September," the spokesman said.

Because of the closure of the school and its financial state, staff had reported that they were unsure about getting paid at the end of July and August and were facing not having jobs for next term.

Mr Borwell-Fox said the staff were professional, passionate and committed to the ethos and values of the school, and the education of the girls, that they were potentially and knowingly working for free until the end of the summer term.

"It has been a pleasure getting to know them over the recent two weeks. This is one of the most incredibly positive outcomes from this project," he said.

Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, personally backed the PAG campaign to save the school offering many ideas and much help towards the end goal.

The school celebrates its 80th anniversary this year and will close its doors on Friday to pupils.

Comments (5)

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6:22pm Tue 8 Jul 14

Jabbadad says...

It is dissapointing that with all the very succesfully educated and possibly now well off, if not moderately well off, girls that have attended St Mary's Convent School, and with no disrespect to those trying to save the school, to have only £120,000 loans pledged is certainly not showing how gratefull you (parents and past pupils) all are. So come on lets see how you really feel about this lovely schools future, and Show the TRUSTEES how wrong they are. It might mean one less holiday this year.
It is dissapointing that with all the very succesfully educated and possibly now well off, if not moderately well off, girls that have attended St Mary's Convent School, and with no disrespect to those trying to save the school, to have only £120,000 loans pledged is certainly not showing how gratefull you (parents and past pupils) all are. So come on lets see how you really feel about this lovely schools future, and Show the TRUSTEES how wrong they are. It might mean one less holiday this year. Jabbadad
  • Score: -8

9:42am Wed 9 Jul 14

Who really cares says...

Why should everyone chip in and give a failing business some more money. This school isn't cheap to go to and has obviously been poorly run. To rely on old pupils, parents or members of the public just isn't right. The school has failed as it doesn't have enough money so things need to move forward. Its a very sad day for Worcester that this has happened but shops, business' etc.. close everyday and I don't think that this should be treated any differently.
Why should everyone chip in and give a failing business some more money. This school isn't cheap to go to and has obviously been poorly run. To rely on old pupils, parents or members of the public just isn't right. The school has failed as it doesn't have enough money so things need to move forward. Its a very sad day for Worcester that this has happened but shops, business' etc.. close everyday and I don't think that this should be treated any differently. Who really cares
  • Score: 5

12:20pm Wed 9 Jul 14

danieled says...

Jabbadad wrote:
It is dissapointing that with all the very succesfully educated and possibly now well off, if not moderately well off, girls that have attended St Mary's Convent School, and with no disrespect to those trying to save the school, to have only £120,000 loans pledged is certainly not showing how gratefull you (parents and past pupils) all are. So come on lets see how you really feel about this lovely schools future, and Show the TRUSTEES how wrong they are. It might mean one less holiday this year.
When my daughters were at St Mary's in the 1970s the school was still run by the nuns with the help of some professional teachers. The then parents looked on the school as theirs and their enthusiasm produced about £5000 a year from the annual fete.

But since the nuns were removed it has become more commercial and parents do not feel ownership any longer, hence the abandonment of the annual fete because of lack of interest. My four grandaughters have also gone to the school with one still there. My daughter would certainly not be able to help financially after paying fees for many years. I suspect that many old "girls" are in a similar position.
[quote][p][bold]Jabbadad[/bold] wrote: It is dissapointing that with all the very succesfully educated and possibly now well off, if not moderately well off, girls that have attended St Mary's Convent School, and with no disrespect to those trying to save the school, to have only £120,000 loans pledged is certainly not showing how gratefull you (parents and past pupils) all are. So come on lets see how you really feel about this lovely schools future, and Show the TRUSTEES how wrong they are. It might mean one less holiday this year.[/p][/quote]When my daughters were at St Mary's in the 1970s the school was still run by the nuns with the help of some professional teachers. The then parents looked on the school as theirs and their enthusiasm produced about £5000 a year from the annual fete. But since the nuns were removed it has become more commercial and parents do not feel ownership any longer, hence the abandonment of the annual fete because of lack of interest. My four grandaughters have also gone to the school with one still there. My daughter would certainly not be able to help financially after paying fees for many years. I suspect that many old "girls" are in a similar position. danieled
  • Score: 3

2:56pm Wed 9 Jul 14

Jabbadad says...

Please no more pathetic excuses, just say we won't do anything.
Take Take Take that's the society we live in now. And with those sentiments there won't be a school to worry about.
Please no more pathetic excuses, just say we won't do anything. Take Take Take that's the society we live in now. And with those sentiments there won't be a school to worry about. Jabbadad
  • Score: -2

3:23pm Wed 9 Jul 14

danieled says...

Jabbadad wrote:
Please no more pathetic excuses, just say we won't do anything.
Take Take Take that's the society we live in now. And with those sentiments there won't be a school to worry about.
I presume you are referring to my reply to yours. In which case I would suggest that the parents and past parents involved have shown that they are not part of the Take Take Take society, having spent a lot of money already on theit children's education, and contibuted to state education and bursaries without even a thank you from the government and the Charity Commission.
[quote][p][bold]Jabbadad[/bold] wrote: Please no more pathetic excuses, just say we won't do anything. Take Take Take that's the society we live in now. And with those sentiments there won't be a school to worry about.[/p][/quote]I presume you are referring to my reply to yours. In which case I would suggest that the parents and past parents involved have shown that they are not part of the Take Take Take society, having spent a lot of money already on theit children's education, and contibuted to state education and bursaries without even a thank you from the government and the Charity Commission. danieled
  • Score: 2

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