Woodene School saved from closure

A closure threatened independent school has been saved for the foreseeable future, it was confirmed last night.There were joyful scenes at Wood Dene School in Aylmerton, near Cromer, as the news was broken to children and parents at the end of the school day.

A closure threatened independent school has been saved for the foreseeable future, it was confirmed last night.

There were joyful scenes at Wood Dene School in Aylmerton, near Cromer, as the news was broken to children and parents at the end of the school day.

Efforts to save the school have involved staff, parents and business recovery administrators at Vantis over several weeks. A deal has now been brokered with Barclays to create a charitable trust to keep the school open.

As reported in March, a financial crisis at Wood Dene was sparked by a combination of the credit crunch, low pupil numbers and sizable bad debts.


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The problems led the school into going into voluntary administration. This in turn prompted a great deal of uncertainty, one aspect of which has seen pupil numbers almost halve from 113 to around 60 in a matter of weeks.

But last night, Caroline Sands, who has a nine-year-old grand daughter at the school, has previously put her own daughter through the school and will be one of the future charity trustees, was confident of a viable future.

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Miss Sands, who was at the school gate handing out a letter to parents on behalf of principal Diana Taylor, said: 'The school will reopen in September, it will be exactly the same in how it operates and with Mrs Taylor as principal.

'Mrs Taylor will continue to do what she has always done so well.

'A lot of parents, staff, the administrators and Barclays have put in a huge amount of work to make this possible.

'It is very important to keep this facility open, it serves an important group of parents and children. I have been very pleased with everything the school has done for both my daughter and grand daughter.'

Miss Sands said pupil numbers had dropped off because of the uncertainty, but that now the future was secure she expected renewed interest in places. She said several parents had said they would be back if the school were to open for the new academic year.

'There has been a huge community spirit shown in the last few weeks, everyone has stood together.'

The school charges maximum termly rates of �2,204 for the most senior years and was founded by Mrs Taylor in Cromer 24 years ago before moving it to its current home a few miles away in 1986.

Several parents have spoken about the school's plight over recent weeks. These included Liz Arnold, who said: 'If your objective is to find a school where your child will be nurtured and gently disciplined with time and care to become a happy confident and individual young person, look no further.'

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