Bristol

Cost of St Ursula's School 'rescue' is £1.95m

  • 10 November 2010
  • From the section Bristol
St Ursula's School
The former convent school ran into cash difficulties while it was run by the Sisters of Mercy nuns

Buying a loss-making Catholic private school in Bristol which had gone into administration has cost the city's council £1.95m

St Ursula's, Westbury-on-Trym, had made 40 staff redundant and left 140 children without school places.

But the council stepped in and bought the 114-year-old building and grounds while the Oasis Trust took over running the school.

The cost was disclosed after a Freedom of Information request made by the BBC.

The council initially refused to reveal how much the deal cost but did disclose the figure following the appeal.

The money was paid to administrators Grant Thornton who had been bought in by the former owners of the school, the Sisters of Mercy order.

One-year deal

A report submitted to councillors on 20 August said: "There is a shortage of primary school places within areas of the city and, whilst the council is in a position to meet overall demand levels, it is currently not able to do this within some communities.

"This is the case within the wards most relevant to the St Ursula's site."

It also noted that the nine-acre St Ursula's site could be considered a "strategic reserve" with regards to potential provision of secondary schools in Bristol.

St Ursula's will be run as a non-denominational, state-funded academy for the coming year with former staff transferred over to the Oasis Trust.

The trust has agreed a one-year deal with the council to lease the building without any rental charge but will take on any utility costs.

The council did not buy the trust as part of its deal to purchase the building and grounds.

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