Headteacher speaks out after Sheffield school closes suddenly

Handsworth Christian School, Handsworth Road
Handsworth Christian School, Handsworth Road
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A decline in pupil numbers has led to the sudden closure of a Sheffield school, says its headteacher.

Handsworth Christian School, in Handsworth, shut on Thursday, seven days after parents and staff were told it was being placed into liquidation.

Headteacher Tony Swift said the decline in pupil number had created a 'long-term funding problem' which meant the private school could not sustain its future.

The school roll had fallen to 35 pupils, aged from four to 16.

Mr Swift said: "Handsworth Christian School has provided a valuable and successful contribution to the educational community for more than 30 years.

"However, the changing educational and economic climate over the past few years has led to a decline in pupil numbers which has seen the number of students fall to just 35.

"This has created a long term funding problem which means the school has not been operating at a level that would sustain its future.

"The school’s directors and management team have taken all necessary steps to reduce costs and to try to increase pupil numbers but unfortunately this has not led to a sufficient improvement.

"The LEA have also been kept fully informed of all developments and they have attended the school to ensure that all pupils received support in making the successful transition to new schools and all children have been offered places.

"There are just four pupils of GCSE age, of which three are scheduled to take exams this summer and all have been offered places to sit their exams by another independent school.

"Insolvency specialists Graywoods have now been instructed by the directors to assist."

Parents have spoken of their shock at the sudden closure.

Caroline Jacklin said her daughter Saffron, who was due to sit her GCSEs this summer at the £5,000-a-year private school, had been left reeling.

“She’s annoyed because she doesn’t know what’s going to happen to her once half-term is over, or even whether she will be able to take her GCSEs,” said Ms Jacklin.

“These children have been thrown into complete disarray with no education. Places go under all the time, but giving parents and staff a week’s notice is surely not right.”

Pupils have been offered places at other schools in the city

Ms Jacklin said her daughter had been offered a place at Hinde House Secondary School, in Firth Park, or Don Valley Academy, but she had rejected those options.