Major setback for St Michael’s bid

Financial burden too great to save school, but nursery could still reopen on Monday

AN heroic bid by parents to save St Michael’s School has suffered a major setback just days before the school was set to re-open.

Earlier this week, a group hoping to save the troubled school at Tawstock, near Barnstaple thought they had done enough to satisfy administrators and earn the school a two-term reprieve, starting on Monday.

But the plans were quashed at a meeting last night (Thursday) after the full financial implications of taking on the troubled school were revealed.

A message posted on the school’s Facebook page said there had now been insufficient time and funds to get the main school open next week.

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Instead, only the nursery, which has had a near 100 per resumption of children, will have any hope of reopening on Monday.

The post continued: “This evening was very emotional for all those who attended the meeting and I will ensure full details are given in due course.

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“It would be unfair on all those involved to keep them waiting until such a time that we can reopen the school. The team are now concentrating their efforts on rebuilding the school, year by year if that’s what it takes.

“Everyone has shown amazing support during this difficult time and we thank you for this.

“Over the years St Michael’s has changed and evolved many times but has always survived and shown a fighting spirit throughout the hard times and we believe it will continue to do so.”

Gordon Gurr, a member of a voluntary parent committee being assembled to secure a long-term future for the school, told the Gazette this morning that the group was trying to secure the final approvals and licence to open the nursery.

“We are hoping it will be later today but there are no guarantees,” he said.

Mr Gurr said that saving the nursery could still act as a catalyst for saving the main school.

He said: “This is not the end, it is just the beginning. The community reaction to the traumatic sequence of events is breathtaking; everyone has demonstrated their resolve not to let the spirit of St Michael’s die.

“We will get the nursery going again and then we will look at what year groups we can get going next September.”

Meanwhile, 39 former St Michael’s children started school at West Buckland School yesterday (Thursday).

Three children joined the senior school in Year 7 while another 36 joined the prep school in all years from Reception to Year 6.

A spokesperson said the school had advertised for an additional Year 2 teacher to enable the creation of an extra class.

“Prep school headmaster, Andrew Moore and his colleagues are confident that they will be able to cope with the additional pupils who are likely to join the prep school in the days and weeks to come,” said the spokesperson.

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