Abbots Bromley School Closure

Schools are not about corporations. It’s about the community.

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

Henry Ford (Ford Motor Company)

As parents arrived at Abbots Bromley School this evening we were greeted with the unexpected surprise of the meeting venue being moved to the beautiful chapel of St Anne.

The meeting venue was befitting to the occasion, all around us the history of Abbots Bromley School stared down upon us and reminded each of us how this building had outlived us all, and we as parents and the community are merely custodians of the historic buildings and as a community it is our role to ensure the history of these buildings live on.

The meeting had a different feeling and the feeling felt more optimistic and parents at ease, they had put their hard hats on and were braced for what lay ahead and were determined to shape the future of Abbots Bromley School.

Mr Udy opened the meeting and shared a personal story about his service in Northern Ireland and said that Monday had brought home how serious the situation was and compared it to the first time he had heard bullets fired in Northern Ireland, but with this he showed strength of character, and leadership and most importantly determination to get Abbots Bromley school through the crisis.

Mr Udy then gave a rallying call for all parents to remain united and placed on record his admiration for Parents, Staff and parents and at this point, he introduced Simon Hunt who is a member of the panel of parents who have come together to help in whatever way they can with the sale process.

Simon rose to the floor and introduced himself and the panel who have formed to help in their capacity as a parents panel who will act as a voice for the parents of the school.

The full panel of parents for the record are as follows:

Tracey Richards,Steve Barrett, Pat Campbell,Simon Hunt,Steven Nock,Simon Slifkin,Jane Trainer, Gary Beagley.

At this point may i place i record on behalf of all the parents of Abbots Bromley School a very big thank you for providing your time and expertise to help the school.

Simon Hunt opened the next phase of the discussion to provide an update on the current position and offered a positive and well considered analysis of the current status of the proposed sale of Abbots Bromley School.

Some key parts that i will keep as concise as possible for a easy to read breakdown of the current status:

  • The proposed buyers are an established educational provider with a proven track record in running schools and educational establishments.
  • The Woodard Corporation has met with the parent’s panel to discuss the process and has provided assurances they will work with the parent panel to ensure a swift sale process and have stated they will assist in whatever way they can to facilitate the sale of Abbots Bromley School providing agreement can be reached.
  • The proposed buyers are an established brand with a strong Christian Ethos in the schools they run internationally.
  • Woodard Corporation has met with the parent panel, as has Richard Morse the chairman of the Woodard Corporation, these talks were described as highly positive.
  • The valuation of the school property should be a faster process as the school was valued last August, so the property valuation process will be a much smoother process and should speed up the process by around 3 weeks as the data collected back in August 2018 will allow a current valuation to be obtained as the main leg work has been undertaken.

At the end of the polished and informative presentation the floor was opened to questions.

A few questions of note were:

What are the credentials of the proposed buyers?

The proposed buyers are established within the educational sector and run schools which are state of the art and have made significant investment within the schools they own and the people behind the company are committed to raising the profile of Abbots Bromley School whilst also retaining its unique charm and appeal.

Plan B- Is there a secondary back up plan-
Some initial enquiries have been made but at this time it seems that the Woodard Corporation is keen to follow the offer that is being discussed at this stage.

Will the management team and governors remain the same after the take over

All teaching staff and the leadership team will remain in post, and the governing body will likely transition to a new model similar to that of a Limited company structure where members of the leadership team, teachers and parents would be appointed directors.

How long will the sale take to progress?

Both parties are committed to a fast sales process and although news maybe limited in the coming days, the Parent Panel have indicated they will keep us updated with any information they can share about the sales process. It is hoped news can be provided within 2 weeks.

Overall the meeting was a much more positive affair with parents, staff and the community coming together to support the school at such an important time.

Whilst their maybe anger as to how we got here, that is for another day and now minds must be focused on what lays ahead for Abbots Bromley School.

A little like Brexit, its important we get a good deal rather than a bad deal and pulling together as a community the message we can send is that we will stand together.

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” 

— Winston Churchill

So for now let’s unite behind the process, put our initial feelings to one side as questions can be asked later, and let’s rally behind the Management team, the parent panel and all those involved in the sales process.

Tonight the community pulled together, positivity being the take away message, so this evening when you sit and digest the information from the meeting take a chance on Abbots Bromley School and sit tight and rest assured the staff and leadership team are doing everything they can to ensure your child will remain a part of the Abbots Bromley School community, today, tomorrow and forever.

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