Pupils at a historic boarding school have ‘burst into tears’ after the sudden closure was announced.
Kilgraston School in Bridge of Earn, Perthshire, announced that it will close permanently on June 24, at the end of the current school year.
The historic boarding school accommodates girls ages five to 18 and boys ages five to 12 on its 54-acre campus.
The school staff as well as all students and parents have been informed and the school is organizing alternatives for all those affected.
The board of trustees said a number of factors influenced the closure, including the recovery from Covid-19.
Thomas Steuart Fothringham, chairman of the board of trustees, said it was “an extremely challenging and heartbreaking decision” but due to financial constraints they had no alternative.
He said: “This has been an extremely challenging and heartbreaking decision. However, having considered and pursued all other alternatives, we are left with no alternative for reasons of affordability.
“The loss of income due to COVID-19 lockdowns; the impact of protracted travel restrictions on the international boarding market; the resulting erosion of our cash reserves; And finally, some school leaving during this year mean that we can no longer act responsibly beyond the end of this semester.
“At this point we have three priorities: the welfare of the staff, the welfare of the students; and support for parents in finding places for their children in other schools.
“We will do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition for all those affected.”
“We are very sorry that we cannot continue a school that is close to our hearts.”
Traditionally a Catholic school, Kilgraston School says on its website that it welcomes students of all faiths.
A parent of a student also told The Courier that her daughter burst into tears at the announcement.
Conservative MP Murdo Fraser said the news was “devastating” and a “devastating blow” to the local economy.
He told the Courier: “This is devastating news for the staff and students of this long-established and highly regarded Perthshire school.”
“It also represents a serious blow to the local economy.
“I hope that those who lose their jobs will be given the support they need and that places will be found in other schools to continue their education.
“Unfortunately, rising costs have been a key factor, including the SNP government’s introduction of overseas taxes.
“When this measure was put in place we warned that the consequence would be school closures and it is sad that this is happening now.”
The main building of the school was built around 1800 and served as a private home before being used as a hospital for the wounded in World War I.
After being bought out by the Society of Sacred Hearts, it became a 40-boundary school before becoming an independent Catholic charity in 2000.
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