According to a report by the Church Times, the school, which educates the cathedral’s choristers, is a ‘potential target for takeover’ by Chinese education groups.
It was reported that the prospective buyers are also interested in neighbouring properties on West Street, ‘including the former House of Fraser department store’, which remains vacant after closing in 2018.
Commenting on the speculation, headteacher Louise Salmond Smith said: “As a popular independent school with a long-established reputation for excellence, the school is subject to periodic approaches for inward investment which, for commercial confidentiality, it does not comment on externally.”
The Church Times report stated that, in the past decade, around 17 British independent schools have been bought by Chinese companies, ‘some headed by individuals with close links to the ruling Communist Party’.
However, the reported interest in Chichester’s The Prebendal School is ‘thought to be the first time that they have turned their attention to a school connected to the church’.
Chichester Cathedral said it was unable to comment on the report as the school is a ‘separate commercial entity’.
The Prebendal School is West Sussex’s oldest school, with its origins dating back to the 11th century. The independent school on West Street, Chichester, is a preparatory school for children between three and 13 years of age.
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