In spite of fears that Newlands School in Seaford may close in July, pupils, staff and families have been reassured that it could be saved thanks to interest expressed by potential new investors.
The current owners of the boarding school, Beaconhouse Education Services, had given the school notice that it may close at the end of the academic year. But head teacher Mrs Tula Dyer has told the Seaford Gazette that rumours of closure are not based on fact and a number of options to retain the school are actively in progress.
Possible investment could come from organisations which already have a profile of owning other UK boarding schools. Mrs Dyer explained, “Additionally, a parent forum called the Newlands School Development group (NSDG) was set up to ensure the continuation of the education of the pupils.”
Their website is http://newlandsschooldevelopmentgroup.com.
She invites everyone to contact them, discuss their views and obtain parent testimonials.
She went on, “At this moment in time the school is operating as normal and the children continue to receive a good education in a supportive environment. Newlands School provides a service to the local community as a resource as well as being a successful school and it is our intention to see this maintained.”
Newlands School began as a tutorial in 1814 but its history in Seaford goes back to 1903.
Last week, Seaford MP Norman Baker described the possible closure as ‘a regrettable and sad day for Seaford.’ He explained the school faced closure in 2006 but was saved thanks to the generosity of two of the parents. Shortly afterwards Mr Baker introduced a bill to Parliament to protect pupils from the sudden closures of schools. He said, “It is intolerable that the situation could arise and unbelievable that there was no safety net for children whose education is important to them. A private school is not a fish and chip shop and demands better protection for those who use it.”
He has written to Beaconhouse Educational Centre to express concerns and also to East Sussex County Council to ask what support the council could provide. In 2006 the school went into administration after a winding up petition was served but it was saved and continued to operate under the direction of a new company. Again in 2009 it faced possible closure but once again was able to continue.
A school spokeswoman said, “It’s a shame that we were not consulted before inaccurate information about the future was published [in another publication] and we had no chance to express our comments.”