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City girls' school to close after 80 years

Worcester Editorial 24th Jun, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

THE CITY’S only all-girls school is set to close its doors after 80 years next month after governors said it had become impossible to keep it running.

Parents at the independent St Mary’s School in Battenhall were told at a meeting on Monday evening (June 23) the school would be closing at the end of the academic year by chairman of governors Andrew Cleary.

He said the recruitment of pupils had become very difficult in recent years which was not helped by the recession and so they were left with little choice.

Mr Cleary added everything would be done to make sure its 269 pupils could find new schools to go to in September.

“As a St Mary’s parent myself, this is a very sad day for all the families who have girls at the school and for our wider community of former pupils and staff, many of whom have loved their time here.

“Our main priority now is to ensure our current pupils find schools to go to in September.

“We are grateful to the governors and staff of RGS Worcester who have worked with us to ensure as many as possible of our girls who wish to join RGS Worcester, RGS The Grange and RGS Springfield next term and who meet RGS Worcester’s eligibility criteria are able to do so as seamlessly as possible”

Mr Cleary said the closure would inevitably mean staff redundancies, but the calibre of St Mary’s staff was excellent and the governors would be doing all they could to help teaching and non-teaching staff new positions elsewhere.

The RGS schools once again looked the most likely to recruit their employees.

Rosemary Ham, RGS chair of governors, said: “RGS has been a cornerstone of Worcester and education in the city for centuries.

“The governors felt we have a duty to do all we can to help local families at this uncertain time for them.”

“RGS has extensive experience of successfully educating pupils transferring from a large number of local state and independent schools.

“For example the successful integration of girls from the former Alice Ottley School in 2007 is a testament to our sensitivity and expertise when embracing similar challenges.

“We anticipate a smaller number of applications from St Mary’s girls. This means the will be comfortably absorbed into the three RGS schools and we are confident they will soon feel at home.

“Plans are already in place to ensure there will be no disruption to existing pupils.”

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