Despite painstaking efforts to keep the cherished school up and running, the future of Lavant House appears gloomy after a bid to raise the £1 million needed to keep it open failed.
After the news the all-girls school would have to close because of falling pupil numbers and an ‘untenable’ financial situation, parents were given one last chance to rescue it if they raised the colossal sum of money.
However, after the allotted two weeks, campaigners only managed to collect £50,000 – five per cent on what was needed.
Alan Goodger, chairman of the parents and friends association, said: “The desire to save this pearl of education for future generations still burns as strongly as ever, but the impossible time frame forced upon us leaves our campaign at a strategic loss.
“The girls are distraught – they know they simply will not find as nurturing and supportive an education in schools elsewhere.”
Mr Goodger continued to thank the staff at Lavant House for making the stressful time a lot more manageable, with headmistress Nicola Walker even arranging for other schools to visit Lavant House so parents can start thinking about plan B.
“When Lavant House School closes the world will indeed be slightly diminished,” added Mr Goodger.
“It genuinely turned around lives. Here no pupil ever fell through the educational net – that was the strength of this unique school – but with this untimely closure that will no longer be the case.
“That is not the future any of us signed up for. We wanted our daughters to be able to break the glass ceiling, not fall through a glass floor.
“But, at the end of the day, the parents and staff believe this tragic decision could have been avoided.”
Marian Scott, chairman of governors, said: “We understand how deeply parents and their daughters feel about Lavant House and wanting to secure its future.
“As charity trustees with legal responsibilities, we will be guided by professional advice on any financial rescue package proposed by parents.
“At this stage, it is not possible to comment any further until our professional advisors have looked in detail at any offer put on the table by parents and/or third parties.”