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Thursday, October 27, 2016
Presentation College, Reading to close
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¬†The Presentation Brothers, as Trustees of Presentation College Reading, announced today their decision to close the Senior College and the Pre-Preparatory plus Preparatory school as and from August 2004. Br Patrick Fitzgibbon, the Anglo Irish Province Leader of the Presentation Order expressed his regrets at the decision. He said: "It is with great sorrow and feeling for all in Presentation College Reading that I announce the decision of the Trustees to close the College from August 2004. The College buildings, finances and enrolment positions prohibit any effective measures being taken to provide a quality modern environment that is needed in the years ahead, despite exhaustive efforts by ourselves, and proposals by the Board of Governors, over recent months". The Preparatory School's reception class has only two pupils this year, and the Sixth form is only catering for 43 students which makes it very difficult and uneconomical to provide suitable options, say the Trustees. The 275 pupil school is losing money every year, with a £178,000 deficit, for instance, in 2001. The Prep School, a Victorian building acquired in 1953, is in need of total renovation and refurbishment to meet the basic requirements of an educational establishment. The Senior College school was built in 1965, with prefabs added in 1972, and its state of deterioration was a matter of grave concern to the Trustees. "With income dramatically falling short of expenditure each year, and a financial investment needed of some £8 million just to make the school buildings safe, the Trustees are not in a position to provide the significant financial assistance required over future years to provide the necessary quality environment for the education of young people", added Br Fitzgibbon. "The Presentation Brothers have been meeting with the Presentation College Community over the last few days and acknowledging the work done over the past 70 years. "On behalf of the Trustees I wish to thank the present Community of Pupils, Parents, Brothers, Board of Governors, Headmaster, Headmistress, Deputy Headmaster, Senior Management, Staff of both schools, including the Bursar, reception and secretarial staff plus catering, cleaning and grounds staff for their dedication and loyalty to Presentation College. The spirit of respect and friendliness that exists among the College community is very special, and I also want to mention the contribution of the Parents Association and of Past Pupils over the years", said Br Fitzgibbon. "The Trustees are very aware of the problems and upset our decision to close will cause students, parents and staff but we are unable to provide the quality buildings our students, 43 teachers and 22 non-teaching staff deserve. Also the Department of Education will specify the standards against which an independent school will be assessed for registration (Part 10, Education Act 2002), which includes Premises and Accommodation and our present buildings could lead to de-registration. The ongoing running costs and enrolment situation forced this decision upon us and we have a legal responsibility to safeguard assets under the Charities Act 1993. Despite an injection of a significant grant from the Trustees in recent years, any further such injections of cash would only provide temporary respite. "We have obviously received professional advice to this effect and spent a long time agonizing over this decision" said Patrick Fitzgibbon speaking in Reading this week "and we are aware, of course, that there is already provision for Catholic education in the area, which is some consolation, as the first priority of educators must be to ensure a quality environment for the education of our youth. The Trustees have also assured the staff of their intentions to provide a just and equitable settlement with them". An official statement from the Diocese of Portsmouth said: The Diocese of Portsmouth very much regrets the closure of the Presentation College in Reading. The closure marks the end of an excellent tradition of and commitment to Catholic Education provided by the Brothers and lay staff of the College over many years. The Diocese is concerned for the future education of the boys and for the employment prospects for the staff. There has been a very good working relationship between the Headmaster, Mr Frank Lovender and the other Catholic heads within the Greater Reading area, and within the Diocese The Diocese will continue to offer support to Presentation College up to the closure in July 2004.
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