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Crisis talks for threatened school

PUBLISHED: 00:45 12 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:05 03 March 2010

CRISIS talks were held by parents last night over the threatened closure of one of East Anglia's best-known private schools.

Governors of the girls-only St Felix School at Reydon, near Southwold, have decided it must close in the face of "unsustainable" losses, thought to be in the region of £1.

CRISIS talks were held by parents last night over the threatened closure of one of East Anglia's best-known private schools.

Governors of the girls-only St Felix School at Reydon, near Southwold, have decided it must close in the face of "unsustainable" losses, thought to be in the region of £1.2 million over the past two years.

The decision has shocked all those involved in the running of the school and the parents of its pupils – aged up to 17.

Parents met last night in the dining room at the school to discuss possible efforts to organise a financial package which would prevent the closure.

They heard further details of the options, which had been considered for the future of the school, founded in 1897, and discussed "damage limitation" strategies.

A message to parents on the PTA's internet web-site, said the closure decision had come as a "complete shock".

"However, we have decided that we cannot allow the school to close without putting up some resistance and so we are opening our forthcoming committee meeting to all parents/guardians," it said.

Members of the Press were not admitted to last night's meeting. "It is totally private," said PTA chairman, Roger Etheridge.

But he said a prepared statement would be issued today .

Fees paid at the school – which stands in 75-acres of grounds on the northern slope of the Blyth Valley - are among the highest in East Anglia with day-pupils being charged £3,000-a-term and boarders £5,000-a-term.

However, despite spending a total of £1.5million on a new indoor swimming pool and a theatre and sports complex in recent years, insufficient pupils have been attracted to make the school viable in its present state.

Under proposals announced by the governors, the neighbouring St George's Preparatory School will merge with St Felix to create a new school catering for boys and girls up to the age of 13.

The remaining 130 "senior" girls will be offered places at another private school – yet to be named.

The closure decision has been met with disappointment and disbelief by some parents who pointed to the school's consistently high academic achievements.

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