Promising developments for St Bees School, say trustees

By Ken Powell

Mark George speaking before a packed audience at St Bees School (Photo: D K Powell)

Mark George speaking before a packed audience at St Bees School (Photo: D K Powell)

Chairman of the St Bees School board of Trustees, Mark George, has said today that the future opening of the local school is looking more certain than ever during a ‘drop in’ meeting to bring the public up to date with latest plans.

The much-loved school closed down in July 2015 because of financial difficulties but Mr George admitted that in the opinion of the current trustees “the school didn’t need to shut” and that “the endgame is to get a school back”. He was keen to stress the need to move forward and “put conspiracy theories to bed” saying that there were “no conspiracies” with no secret efforts to sell off land and assets.

Mr George gave encouraging news that through the use of school facilities made available for hire the trustees had accrued around £250,000 which was helping to keep the school in good condition. Moreover, the local golf course, which had depended on the school when open, had now moved out of “a position of uncertainty” thanks to the work of the trustees.

However, the chairman also gave news which will sadden many saying that the school was unlikely to open in September 2017. He said the board were hoping to open in 2018.

One of the key issues and worries has been that of securing investment in the school, without which there is no possibility of opening again. Although Mr George said he couldn’t give details, he did tell the audience that discussions with a group of foreign investors who run schools was “in advanced stages” and was hopeful of a positive outcome. He also said that there was “great sentiment for the school” overseas and was optimistic of securing the many students from abroad which would be vital for the economic success of the school.

Mr George stressed the importance of making as much use of the facilities as possible in order to generate income for the school both now and in the future and invited everyone to present ideas which could be considered by the board.

The general impression from those present was that though it was disappointing that more concrete news was not forthcoming, nonetheless developments were encouraging and it was good to see a board of trustees actively engaging with the local community and consulting with them.