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Funds shortfall delays Phoenix School opening
PARENTS’ dreams of opening their own independent school in time for the new term have been put on hold.
A group of teachers and parents left devastated by the announcement on July 21 that Ripon Cathedral Choir School was to close, had tried to set up a replacement school in time for the September term.
They needed to raise £50,000 in order to guarantee the security of the new establishment, The Phoenix School, for the first year.
Last week they received pledges of £19,000, but decided this was not enough to put the school on a secure financial footing and have decided to postpone its opening until September 2013.
Emma Warner-Reed, from The Phoenix School’s organising committee, said: “We were very keen not to start off on an insecure financial footing.
We wanted to be able to guarantee the security of the school for the first year.
“We had pledges of £19,000 last week, which is completely amazing.
People have been so, so supportive.
“But unfortunately we’ve had to take the decision – for the parents that had signed up – not to open in September.
“Although we had amazing support, we thought going ahead on a wing and a prayer wasn’t the way to do it. We’re dealing with children’s futures and we want to give them some security.”
The Phoenix School’s pre-school will open at Easter and the rest of the school will open at the beginning of the next school year in the Old Lecture Building, College Lawns, Ripon.
The building had been leased by Leeds Metropolitan University for the past ten years, but in the past few weeks the university decided to vacate the building and has given its fully-equipped ICT suite and white boards to the new school.
Over the next few months The Phoenix School will apply for grants and funding. It will have an emphasis on art and music and plans to open the building up to the community for arts and sports clubs.
It is believed all but two families who signed up to the new independent school have settled on alternatives for their children.
Ripon Cathedral Choir School had debts of £800,000 and a proposed merger with a school near Thirsk , Cundall Manor, had fallen through.