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Business plan to save Worcester school rejected by trustees
Updated 8:14am Wednesday 9th July 2014 in News
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.