The national press recently estimated that at least 25 private schools could be up for sale, as pupil numbers diminish in the current economic climate. But while press stories focus on group takeovers and the effects for pupils and parents if schools have to close, where does all this leave teaching staff – and how can Eteach help?
Back in 2008, The Independent reported that three private prep schools had followed prestigious girls’ senior schools and shut down after falling pupil numbers pushed them into financial difficulties.
And this month, The Guardian quoted Jill Berry, the new president of the Girls’ Association, as saying that any independent school could face the risk of merger or closure even if they were very well run.
Meanwhile the Times reported that two private school chains are hoping to acquire more schools, with “one in negotiations to buy up to 15 schools to add to the 46 it already runs in the UK”.
It’s an uncertain and unsettling environment, for parents, for pupils – and not least, for school staff.
While we don’t have all the answers to the credit crunch, we can pitch in and offer support to staff if they are suddenly faced with the prospect of closure; in one recent case we were able to send an experienced team into a school to talk about the alternatives to staff who had worked there for years. And the good news is that head teachers are obliged to support staff in finding new positions in these situations, and so should welcome initiatives of this type.
Have you found your school in similar circumstances? Do you have any tips on how you might be able to gain support through these difficult times? Add a comment and let us know!