Abbots Bromley School
Update 5th July 2019
As an update to the statement of 28th June 2019, and following further social media speculation, the Trustees of The Woodard Corporation confirm that we do not have any offers for the continuation of Abbots Bromley School that are capable of being accepted. Any potential offers for the school would be the subject of non-disclosure agreements.
28th June 2019
The Trustees of The Woodard Corporation note the confirmation from Abbots Bromley School that the school will close at the end of this Summer Term. In the light of emails received from concerned pupils, parents, teachers and other staff, and having reviewed social media traffic relating to Woodard’s role in this closure, we wish to make the following points:
- Woodard deeply regrets the closure of the school and the associated impact on all stakeholders in Abbots Bromley School. The school is itself an important community, and it lies within the wider community of Abbots Bromley village. The closure, which results from the financial incapacity of the school, is inevitable, but we are keen to restore the school land and buildings as a site for education in future, if at all possible.
- The school originally announced its closure in March this year, allowing parents and staff nearly six months to make new arrangements. Preceding this announcement, the school had requested Woodard to support it with emergency funding to prevent a disorderly closure. Woodard agreed to support the school for the rest of the academic year. To date, Woodard has contributed just under £2 million to pay teachers, other staff and creditors of the school. That figure will rise as the school meets the costs of closure.
- Following the original decision to close, the school announced that it had entered into talks with Chinese investors who were interested in buying the school as a going concern. The school entered into a Heads of Terms with these investors, which included mutually agreed arrangements to secure its future. The terms included the payment of a deposit on 31st May 2019, which was not made. The school extended the deadline for the payment of this deposit, which was again not met. Finally, with the support of Woodard throughout, the school offered a revised arrangement to the Chinese investors but this was not agreed. This was disappointing for the school and for Woodard, who were solidly behind the rescue proposal. Following this chain of events, on the evening of 21st June 2019 the school reiterated its intention to close.
- The school and parent concerned groups have had a number of approaches since that date, but it is clear that interested parties cannot meet the deadline for registration or afford to pay the deposit required to allow Woodard to incur open-ended costs into the new academic year. Throughout, Woodard representatives have engaged with the Trustees, a group of parents and interested potential investors, but to date no satisfactory solution has emerged. Woodard does not have the cash resources or the mandate to maintain financial support for a school with the level of financial challenge faced by Abbots Bromley.
- We are acutely conscious of the particular challenge faced by Year 10 and 12 pupils who are entering exam years in the next academic year. We have been working hard with other Woodard schools (particularly those located close to Abbots Bromley) to look at what support can be offered to pupils through the 2019/20 academic year.
- The anxiety and distress felt by pupils, parents, teachers and other staff is regrettable, but all parties have acted honourably in pursuit of an outcome that would have allowed the school to continue. Sadly this has not been achievable.
We pray for happier times ahead and our thoughts and prayers go with all those affected by the school’s closure.