St Margaret's private school set to close

Image caption,
St Margaret's school has gone into administration

One of Edinburgh's leading private schools is to close after going into administration as a result of falling pupil numbers.

St Margaret's School, which was founded in 1890, has called in receivers KPMG after running into financial difficulties.

Teaching staff were informed on Thursday afternoon and an e-mail was sent to all parents that evening.

The school will close at the end of term on 29 June.

The school including the nursery has 397 pupils and 143 staff, 69 teaching and 74 non-teaching.

Senior pupils pay £2,456 per term and boarders £2,628 per term.

Blair Nimmo, provisional liquidator and head of restructuring for KPMG in Scotland, said: "St Margaret's is a well-established school with an excellent reputation and this news will be very distressing for many pupils, parents, teaching and all other staff past and present.

"We intend to continue providing the school's services through to the end of term and will do whatever we can to assist pupils, parents and staff during this difficult time."

Deborah Reid, 43, from Edinburgh, said she was "very sad" when she was told on Thursday night that her 13-year-old daughter's school was to close.

She told the BBC Scotland news website: "When we read the e-mail we were very sad, it's such a lovely school.

"Cat had only done one year there but she had taken to the school like a duck to water. We chose the school because it had such a lovely community feel to it, it was like a family.

"We are also very sad for the teachers who are losing their jobs.

"We will now have to start ringing around other schools to find the right one for Cat."

Murray Bruce, 41, from East Lothian, whose three-year-old son Hamish and six-year-old daughter Chloe attend the nursery and school, said he was "pretty devastated" at the news.

He said: "This was a fantastic school with a great atmosphere. When Chloe started primary one there were nine pupils in her class but by the end of the year there were 13.

"The challenge now is to find another school before they all close for the summer in two weeks' time. There really is a sense of urgency."

'High demand'

Marilyne MacLaren, Edinburgh City Council's education leader, said: "It's very sad to hear that a school with such a long history in Edinburgh is to close.

"It's particularly awful for the pupils who currently attend and for parents and staff.

"We know that some parents may need our support and we are ready to help during what must be a difficult time."

Judith Sischy, director of Scottish Council of Independent Schools, said: "News of the sudden closure of St Margaret's School in Edinburgh is sad and distressing. We will do all we can to help re-locate the pupils, wherever possible.

"The circumstances at St Margaret's are specific to St Margaret's and we do not envisage these arising elsewhere in the sector.

"We are pleased that, despite the economic climate, places at independent schools remain in high demand."

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