Planned Closure of Walden School
10th May 2017
Walden School, previously known as Friends’ School Saffron Walden, has announced today the proposal to close the school at the end of the Summer term on 7th July, 2017.
Staff and parents at the school were informed of the proposal via meetings and written correspondence today.
In accordance with the School’s legal obligations it will shortly be embarking on a
collective consultation period with all its staff. During this period the school will continue to consider options, but unless a viable option for the school is found through this process, then the school will close.
Susan Garratt, Chair of Governors, commented: “It is with great sadness that we announce the proposed closure of Walden School. Like many independent schools across the country, especially smaller ones, we have found conditions to be extremely challenging over recent years due to a highly competitive local market. This has been compounded by the recent economic downturn resulting in a continued decline in pupil numbers.
“Before taking this very difficult decision we looked at a range of options to try to keep the school open but unfortunately none were achievable. The education and welfare of our pupils has always been our primary concern and we will be working with the Local Authority and other schools in the area to help find alternative options for the children. We would like to thank all parents, staff and trustees who have supported the school over many years.”
Walden School, which is a charitable trust, was originally set up as a Quaker school 315 years ago and has occupied its current site on Mount Pleasant Road since 1879.
Mrs Garratt continued: “The original aim set out for the school at its inception was to provide education in Saffron Walden. To honour this commitment, we have made an approach to the Department for Education as to the future of the school building and site.
“It is testament to the fantastic teachers and staff at Walden School that we have been able to provide such a high quality of education over recent years. This is underlined in the most recent Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) assessment and high achievement of our pupils.
“We ask that people consider the strain and emotions that the current pupils, their families and the staff of Walden School will be experiencing at this challenging time.”
The Board of Governors and Senior Management Team will be holding meetings with parents and staff to address their concerns and provide advice and support.
Clerk of Governors