By Tara O’Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
A school in Upper Norwood could close its doors for good amid financial problems and with its buildings not fit for purpose.
Public consultation began today on a proposal to close Virgo Fidelis Convent Senior School in August 2021.
The Catholic girls’ school is voluntary-aided, meaning that it is state funded but the Southwark Diocese contributes to running costs and has influence over how the school runs.
The consultation comes after the news that the school would not be accepting new Year 7 pupils this school year, which came as a shock to parents who had just three weeks to find elsewhere for their daughters to go.
The council is investigating standards at the school and an ‘Interim Executive Board’ (IEB) has been appointed – this happens when the local authority is concerned about the governance of a school.
The board now proposes the school’s closure as it believes the school is “no longer viable”.
The majority of the buildings are unfit for purpose according to the council – Year 10 pupils are currently being taught at St Mary’s Catholic High School as a result.
If the school does close, girls currently in Years 8 and 9 will be offered places at other schools, and Year 10s will be enrolled as St Mary’s pupils for Year 11, remaining in a single-sex location away from the rest of the school.
Staff would be “redeployed as much as possible”.
The closure would follow that of St Andrew’s school, which closed in August this year, with more than £2 million worth of debt, after it failed to attract enough pupils, affecting how much funding it received.
Public consultation will run until October 23 and can be found here.
Pictured top: Virgo Fidelis Convent Senior School (Picture: Google Street View)
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