News

Public consultation on the proposed removal of boarding provision at Shaftesbury School

THIS CONSULTATION ON THE PROPOSAL TO CLOSE BARTON HILL HOUSE HAS NOW FINISHED.

Variation to Admissions

Due to the proposal outlined below, we are also running a separate consultation on the removal of boarding admissions arrangements. If the proposal to close the boarding house goes ahead, we would look to remove boarding admissions from the school website. This consultation runs until Friday 6th May 2022.

>SAST Policy for Boarding Admissions 2021-22

You can send any written response to the consultation to:
Admissions Consultation, SAST Trust Office, Shaftesbury School, Salisbury Road, Shaftesbury, Dorset, SP7 8ER.

Please direct all feedback via the postal address above, or email Bob.Stacey@sast.org.uk

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The Board of Trustees of Sherborne Area Schools’ Trust (SAST) has made the difficult decision to propose the closure of Barton Hill House, and therefore, the removal of boarding provision from Shaftesbury School.

The boarding house has seen falling numbers and struggled financially over the past few
years. The Trust has made many attempts to find a financially viable future for the boarding house, and over the past two years we have:

  • Rebranded the school to appeal to international students and families
  • Advertised both nationally and internationally in boarding and education publications
  • Conducted online social media advertising campaigns
  • Represented the school at recruitment events overseas
  • Restructured and rebranded the Level 2 Sixth Form Programme to the Pre-Sixth Course to make it more accessible and appealing to overseas students, so that they see the Sixth Form as a three-year course, for those without maths and English at GCSE.
  • Looked into partnership working with local sporting teams so that we can offer a more bespoke course for those students who are talented at sports.
  • Restructured the boarding house team to reduce staffing expenditure
  • Invested in new signage to make the school more prominent in the community
  • Renovated the boarding house, including the common room, dining room, and bedrooms
  • Offered a discount to military families
  • Approached charities and foundations including The Lush Trust for sources of funding
  • Targeted the governors of the British Overseas Territories to try and encourage
    recruitment
  • Contacted schools on The Channel Islands and the Isles of Scilly to offer them the chance to study in our Sixth Form, as these school do not have a Sixth Form currently
  • Worked in partnership with some of our independent schools to look at how they market their boarding houses.

Due to global factors such as the pandemic, and the UK’s withdrawal from the European
Union, we have seen a continuing fall in the number of boarding students. The boarding
house financial reserves have been used to support the provision until now, but those funds will have been exhausted by the end of the academic year. Academy Trusts are not permitted to subsidise boarding using government funding ringfenced for Shaftesbury School, and, as such, the Trustees have made the difficult decision to propose the removal of the boarding provision, effective 31st August 2022.

We do not undertake this decision lightly and have done everything within our power to
make boarding financially sustainable. We hold out hope that a revenue stream can be found which will enable the boarding house to remain open, and we want to support boarding students, especially those in the middle of their studies, as much as possible.

The Trust will run a four-week public consultation from Friday 25th March to Friday
22nd April. The consultation is open to all, and we would like to encourage as many people as possible to take part in this consultation, to ensure that all views are heard.

THIS CONSULTATION HAS NOW CLOSED.

We will also be holding a public consultation event at Shaftesbury School on Friday 8th April 2022 from 4.30-6pm, where members of the public are invited to meet with Trustees, and representatives from the Trust and Shaftesbury School to discuss the proposal.

Alternatively, you can send any written response to the consultation to:
Consultation, SAST Trust Office, Shaftesbury School, Salisbury Road, Shaftesbury, Dorset, SP7 8ER.

Variation to Admissions

Due to the above proposal we are also running a parallel consultation on the removal of boarding admissions arrangements. If the proposal to close the boarding house goes ahead, we would look to remove boarding admissions from the school website.

Please direct all feedback via the postal address above, or email Bob.Stacey@sast.org.uk

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