A private school which announced it was set to close this summer after years of criticism over its leadership and safeguarding of children could re-open in September – potentially with the same staff, management and students.
Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley appeared to have finally lost its 12-month battle to remain open when it chose not to contest last week’s hearing by the Department for Education.
But parents have now been contacted to say that Alpha Schools WILL run a school on the site, with doors opening to students from September 24.
And they say that it will be “learning as usual”, with former RSSKL staff, and the same curriculum.
Both Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley and Alpha Schools refused to answer questions from the Gazette this week.
And they refused to explain:
Whether either organisation has been in touch with either Ofsted, the Department For Education, Herts County Council, or the Charity Commission about this move;
What has happened to the £750,000 corporate loan that RSSKL took out;
What will happen to the assets and liabilities of RSSKL;
Or what assurances they could offer that the ‘new’ school will not suffer the same difficulties as RSSKL.
The former school had been subject to repeated criticisms from Ofsted, with inspectors calling on RSSKL to “urgently address” concerns about safeguarding as far back as December 2016.
It is also not clear:
What the ‘new’ school will be called;
Who the new principal would be;
If the new school has secured insurance – something which RSSKL had been unable to achieve for the next academic year.
A spokesman for RSSKL said: “We are in discussions with Alpha regarding opening a new Steiner school on the site of RSSKL.
“As soon as there has been progress, we will update the school community.”
Alpha Schools Ltd was founded eight years ago and is believed to currently own eight schools across the UK, with fees ranging from £1,860 to £4,114.85 per year.
The company made a gross annual profit of £4,536,962 according to its most recent accounts.
In a letter to parents, Alpha Schools said: “It is a given than (sic) every school will face acute or chronic difficulties during the course of its history.
“But the fact that this can – often unnecessarily – result in school closure and the loss of a community central to the education of children will always be deeply galling. This is one of the central motivations for my involvement with a gradually increasing number of schools.”
Although there is a signature on the letter both RSSKL and Alpha Schools refused to say whose signature it is.
The letter adds: “As such, following the closure of Rudolf Steiner School, Kings Langley, Alpha Schools has agreed to lease the vacant site from the trustees; locate a school on the site; and run a Waldorf curriculum for three to 18-year-olds.
“We will recruit former RSSKL staff to deliver the curriculum and will work with the senior team to ensure that the school successfully meets the Independent School Standards in every regard.”