Students who were told their private school would close may see it saved as negotiations begin to buy the Wellington campus.
Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, Whitby principal Narelle Umbers announced two weeks ago it would shut its gates by the end of the year, leaving 178 pupils without a school to go to and about 20 teachers without jobs.
However, parents who since formed a “parent action group” in an attempt to work to save the school met on Thursday night to announce a prospective buyer – The New Zealand Institute of Sport founder John Fiso.
Fiso plans to partner with parents in a bid to keep the lower-North Island campus operating and will begin formal discussions with the board of trustees next week.
I do hope they can keep it open. We looked last year at moving to Judgeford (near Whitby) and one of the attractions was having such a high quality school such as Marsden Whitby nearby.
“We’ve indicated that we want to negotiate with them and we’re getting organised. The student roll has been increasing for the last 14 years. This partnership will enable us to secure that bright future for the school community.”
It was not certain at this stage how much it could cost Fiso and potentially parents to keep the school open, he said. Iff the price was too much they may still have to look at closure.
“We have to go through a proper due diligence process. This is a positive step to pursue that opportunity. I’m confident that the Marsden trust board will want a successful outcome from this too.”
Green said the best case would be for stakeholders to move fast enough to secure the confidence of parents and students that the school had a future.
Great to see the community get behind efforts to keep the school open. It is obviously very valued.