School's future is 'secured' after cashflow concerns - COMMENT ON THIS STORY

THE future of Bramcote School has been secured after parents and other benefactors stepped in to ease cashflow problems.

The 116-year-old independent school in Filey Road was facing an uncertain few months due the credit crunch which had seen a fall in the number of pupils.

However, following a series of emergency meetings the school's benefactors have promised their support to prevent the governors from taking drastic measures to keep the school afloat.

James Crawford, acting chairman at Bramcote School which has fees of up to 5,610 per term, said: "We like many people are not finding life easy but we are managing to get by.

"Bramcote's asset value is enormous because it owns the buildings. However, like a lot of schools the issue is cashflow. You could say we are cash poor but asset rich.

"We are a private school and these are tough times. The number of students this year is less than what we had last year, and this is the first year in many where we have not replaced the leavers. The numbers are down which has had an impact on finances.

"We like any business have borrowings, and we also have a very difficult and unpredictable cashflow model. Expenditure goes out on a monthly basis, but income is three times a year reflecting term times at Christmas, Easter and Summer.

"It is all about managing expenditure. However we would never compromise quality. We have always tried to match income with expenditure, which is hard when you consider what we offer here."

Due to the drop in pupils the school is currently staffed for more children than the school has. However, enrolment figures for this September are up, putting the school back on target.

Mr Crawford said: "We have had meetings with parents and stakeholders whereby they have told the governors what they want done for the school to remain. The good will that has been shown towards the school has been astonishing. What has been overwhelming is the sense of feeling for the school, it really is something special.

"All sorts of parents and stakeholders have come forward to help in different ways both financially and practically in terms of support. I call it the Dunkirk spirit. If we had not found the support it is possible we would have had to consider looking at strategic options and using our assets in other ways.

"But as things stand we are in a good position. Bramcote is staying put and will be opening its doors in autumn as it will in many autumns to come."

Bramcote School provides education and boarding for girls and boys between three and 13-years-old, and currently has 104 children in attendance.

In January this year the school was awarded "outstanding" status following an Ofsted inspection, which praised headmaster Andrew Lewin for his ability to "inspire confidence in staff".

Mr Lewin is due to leave at the end of the school year, with deputy head Andrew Snow taking the reins in September.

l An interview with Mr Lewin and Mr Snow about the change in headmaster will be featured in the Evening News later this week.