Buckholme Towers school closes doors for the last time

Portland, administrators of independent preparatory school Buckholme Towers, have confirmed that the school has now closed its doors to the pupils for the last time. This comes after attempts to find another operator to take over the running of the business did not materialise.

Portland will now be winding down the affairs of the business and dealing with the formalities relating to the school.

Parents were advised at a meeting convened by the administrators on Monday 11th February that unless a new operator could be found the school was likely to close.  Although discussions took place with a number of interested parties, including charitable organisations and representatives of parents and staff, a workable arrangement for the continuation of the school could not be found in the time available.

Pupils, parents and staff were informed on the evening of Thursday 14th February that the school would be closing at the end of the school day on Friday and not reopening after half term.  The school had a valentines disco already organised for the pupils on the last Friday and the administrators agreed this could still take place as planned, so as to provide a final farewell for all pupils.

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Buckholme Towers which was founded in in 1939 is an independent prep and pre prep school in Poole that offered private schooling and superior learning to children aged 3 to 11 years.

The property occupied by the school is held within a trust and is designated to be used for educational purposes. The administrators will be liaising with the trustees over the future use of the building.

Joint Administrator Mike Fortune commented:

“Overall, it is a very unfortunate situation, Buckholme Towers has been the heart of the community for a number of years, and was considered a second family by parents and pupils and has a very good reputation locally and with parents. Despite a valiant effort by parents, teachers and other interested parties, in the end there was no choice but to permanently close the school. One of the problems is that with an already low pupil count, as soon as there is a chance that the school will close, parents will naturally seek to make alternative arrangements and that exacerbates the problem for any future operator, with no guarantee pupils would have returned to the school following half term.”

“Although a number of parents pledged continuing support if the school could be kept open, our timetable was partly driven by the fact that parents would need to make other arrangements, prior to half term, just in case the school was unable to reopen after half term and this gave us a very short period to try to find an operator that had the resources to take over within a few days. We were concerned that the parents had little notice of the closure, so we had to make a final decision prior to half term. Once it was known that the school was definitely closing, a number of other local schools got in touch to help facilitate a smooth transition of pupils.”

“We appreciate that the closure is very disappointing for all parties linked to the school as well as the local community, but it was simply not possible to find a financially viable solution on this occasion. We will now do our best to work with parents and the education authorities to enable the smooth transition of pupils. The Trustees of the company, which owns the building, will now have to determine how the property can be used for the purposes under the trust which is education.“

The School previously hit the headlines in March 2013 after a fire, caused by an electrical fault, gutted the main building. 125 pupils and staff were forced to move into the neighbouring church, until the main schoolhouse was habitable once again. The school was able to bounce back from this and re-opened in September that year, with a rebuilt roof, new high-tech classrooms and additional employees.

All queries about the school’s position, should be directed to Portland.