10:00am Wednesday 16th October 2013
By Hayley Mortimer
FEARS have been raised over the future of St Rose’s School in Stroud.
The school, which last year celebrated its centenary, could face closure due to a substantial fall in the number of pupils.
St Rose's School receives most of its funding from Gloucestershire County Council based on the total number of pupils at the school.
There are concerns that the drop in students is due to changes in government funding for education of children with special needs, which came into effect in April this year.
Urgent action is now being taken because the school, owned by The Dominican Sisters Congregation, is no longer financially viable as it cannot subsidise the future losses which are forecast.
Jim Mcdonnell, spokesman for the trustees, said: “These complex changes have put more pressure on local authorities to reduce their costs and review how they allocate their spending.
“It may be that because of these changes, local authorities are placing more students in maintained schools and trying to make less use of an independent specialist school like St Rose's.”
The trustees have begun discussions with governors and staff and are in the process of creating a recovery plan to ensure a long term and sustainable provision for the future.
Sister Pauline Burling, OP, prioress general of the Dominican Sisters, said: “We are very conscious that this news will be a shock to parents and the whole school community.
“We will do our best to safeguard the future education of the children and young people in our care.
“The results of these discussions will be made known as soon as possible.”
In 1912, the Dominican Sisters of St Rose's Convent realised that there was a need in the area for a school to educate young people who were unable to access mainstream schools.
The organisation has been praised for its outstanding abilities in the education, care and therapy of children with severe disabilities and complex health needs.
It's services range from speech and language, massage, physiotherapy to occupational and music therapy with 24 hour nursing support.
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