Below is the letter sent to parents of Stanbridge School from headteacher Maggie McMurray explaining why the school is to close.


Dear Parents and Guardians,

I am sure you are all aware that Stanbridge Earls School has, for some considerable time now, been experiencing many difficulties and for several different reasons, most of which are a legacy of past events.

The trustees of Stanbridge have for the past two to three months been developing ideas aimed at making step changes in school improvement. A number of these have been made known to you, in particular my appointment on May 14. Since that date we have undergone another Ofsted inspection and still await the inspectors’ report.

One consequence of the many difficulties the school has faced is a drop in numbers and the decision of many local authorities not to place pupils at Stanbridge under the current circumstances – at least until we receive a favourable Ofsted Report and confirmation from the Department for Education that they support the continuing education of pupils and students at this school.

One result of these decisions has been that the school now finds itself in financial circumstances that can only be said to add to our concerns.

In order to find solutions to these problems, to restore the school’s reputation, and to strengthen our credibility in the eyes of the regulatory authorities, the trustees have undertaken considerable research into alternative ways forward and are now in a position to share their proposed plans with you.

They are confident that the most promising way forward is in working with More House School, Frensham, a school similar in its intake and educational ethos to Stanbridge Earls, and the trustees have asked me to convey to you the following statement, which has also been sent to Ofsted, the ISI, Charity Commission and Department for Education: ‘Stanbridge Earls School Trust Ltd and Gard’ner Memorial Trust Lit have agreed that, subject to financial and legal due diligence and the negotiation of a binding legal agreement, Gard’ner Memorial Trust will take over Stanbridge Earls and run a new school on its Romsey site as a ‘sister’ school to More House School, which the Trust runs in Frensham near Farnham, Surrey.

It is planned that the new school will open on the 1st December 2013 when Stanbridge Earls School will close.

In the interim Stanbridge Earls will be operated under a transitional plan agreed by both parties.’ We believe that our actions now will ensure the future of a school on this site that will cater for the needs of our children for many years to come. Further to this we should like to offer you the opportunity to meet with governors and me to ask questions, clarify points and simply have the chance to talk.

To this end we have organised three opportunities for this to happen: Saturday 29th June from 11.00am, Sunday 30th June between 5.30pm and 7.30pm and finally immediately after the presentations on Speech Day on 5th July at about 1.00pm. I look forward to talking to you on one of these occasions.


To read the background to the fall of Stanbridge Earls click here