Sheffield private schools merger '˜the best way forward for pupils'

Two of Sheffield's independent schools are set to merge - forming a combined private school for girls.

Thursday, 15th September 2016, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 2:59 pm
Ashdell pupils who won scholarships to Sheffield High School

Sheffield High School and Ashdell Preparatory School, both in Broomhill, will fully merge from September 2017, creating a single institution catering for pupils from nursery to sixth form, ages three to 18.

The two existing schools will operate in parallel, with their current heads, for this academic year, and all pupils at both schools will be entitled to a place at the merged school. The Ashdell name will live on as the Nursery & Infant School of Sheffield High School, and pupils from nursery to Year 2 will be taught at the Ashdell site on Fulwood Road.

Pupils from Years 3 to 6 will be accommodated at Sheffield Girls’ Junior School on Melbourne Avenue.

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Chris Hald, current head of Sheffield Girls’ Infant & Junior School, will stay on as head of the merged school, while Anne Camm, headmistress of Ashdell, plans to retire in August 2017.

Jon Dunn, chair of governors at Ashdell Prep, said: “The two schools already have very strong links, with many girls leaving Ashdell in Year 6 going on to Sheffield Girls’ Senior School. The governors carefully explored the strategic options for the school and concluded that this merger is the best way forward both for our girls and our staff.”

Valerie Dunsford, the High School’s headmistress, said both schools shared a ‘similar ethos and values’,

The High School, run by the Girls’ Day School Trust, was founded in 1878 while Ashdell started in 1948.

Under reforms proposed by Prime Minister Theresa May, private schools face a tougher test on the amount of public benefit required to maintain charitable status.