The answer to this question varies significantly among independent schools across the country and there are usually substantial differences in the relative health and confidence of schools within any local cluster of schools.
This is not necessarily any indication of how ‘good’ a struggling school is. Perhaps it is more an indication of how the school’s parents have been affected during difficult financial times. Schools everywhere have been working with parents to manage these challenges in the interests of securing the continuity of pupils’ education and the schools’ cash flow. Some families have recovered more strongly and quickly than others, which in turn has restored greater security for the school.
Many schools are finding that they have not recovered from the recession as strongly as they had hoped and are considering options as a result. At this time we are working with an increasing number of schools which are choosing to join forces, or rescue struggling neighbours, in merger arrangements. The intention is usually to secure a stronger, combined, school moving into the future.
There are, of course, complications both legal and practical:
- How should the merger be structured?
- How does TUPE (the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006) affect the proposals and what practical/commercial solutions are there?
- How can pupils and parents be retained?
- How can the school’s reputation be preserved?
- How can governor liabilities be managed?
Our specialist schools team has expert experience of advising in all aspects of school mergers to secure stronger schools for the future.
If you are considering what options may exist, please contact a member of the schools team to find out how we can help.