SOUTH WEST SCHOOL WILL NOT RE-OPEN IN SEPTEMBER


Silverhill School in Winterbourne has announced that it will not be reopening for the start of the next academic year in September.

Head Jenifer Capper and her husband Julian, who is principal and bursar, say they have reluctantly decided to close the independent preparatory school and day nursery after 14 years in charge, due to the deteriorating economic outlook.

After “working tirelessly” in an attempt to secure the future of the school – which has 220 children aged from three months up to 11 – they say it “cannot continue as a going concern.”

The couple are now working with other local schools and with South Gloucestershire Council to find alternatives for parents and their children at Silverhill.

They are also in consultation with the school’s 21 full-time and 34 part-time staff – all of whom have been made redundant – to help them find new employment.

The school buildings, which sit on a nine-and-a-half acre site off Swan Lane, will now be sold.

“The school is operating with reduced pupil numbers across all year groups and the impact of covid-19 means that there is no realistic prospect of recovery in the short or even medium term,” said Mrs Capper.

“For two years we have been working tirelessly to secure the future of the school and have held discussions with two potential school operators during the covid-19 closure. We were hopeful up until very recently, but unfortunately the last of these discussions has ended and it is now clear that the school cannot continue as a going concern.

“We are sincerely sorry that this is the case and that we have had to make this announcement so close to the end of the school term. We appreciate this is not ideal but, whilst we have been open in respect of the challenges we face, we have sought to delay making any formal announcement regarding closure in the hope that we could find a solution.

“We are working with South Gloucestershire Council and other independent schools in the area so that parents can make the right choices for their children. Meanwhile staff are being consulted and informed about the future and we are taking legal advice to ensure they are supported and that due processes are followed.”

Silverhill School opened on its former site in nearby Rudgeway in 1949 and moved to its current site in Winterbourne in 1992.

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.