Historic Upper Beeding independent school to close after 117 years

An independent school that has served Upper Beeding and the surrounding area for 117 years has announced its closure.

The Towers Convent School, in Henfield Road, has released a statement that said a decline in pupil numbers, alongside an uncertain economic climate, meant it had to close.

It announced a period of consultation in December, as the school explored ways to secure its survival.

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A focus group of parents, teachers and former pupils came together to draw up a business plan to salvage the long-term future of the school, which was to be presented to trustees in January.

The Towers Convent School in Upper Beeding

Unfortunately efforts to save the school, which is situated in an iconic French chateaux in Upper Beeding, have failed.

In a statement, the school said: "The Towers was founded in 1903 by The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and has provided outstanding pastoral care and educational excellence ever since.

"Over recent years, The Towers has seen a gradual decline in pupil numbers, which together with an uncertain economic climate, has placed unsustainable pressures on the school’s ability to survive.

"Despite an exhaustive number of initiatives to help save the school, including negotiations for mergers, all efforts have been unsuccessful.

"Following the announcement of a consultation period with staff over the proposal that the School may close, parents and staff have rallied in support of The Towers to try to find a solution to save the school.

"Having carefully considered the proposals put forward and having reviewed the financial risks involved to the charitable trust, the Trustees of The Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament advised staff earlier today that, with regret, they consider that the possibility of reaching agreement which would avoid closure of The Towers has been exhausted and, as a result the consultation period has now come to an end.

"The Trustees have resolved to implement the proposal to close the school at the end of the summer term. It is inconceivable to imagine the worry that The Towers community will be experiencing, but the Trustees will do everything they can to support the pupils, parents and staff during this difficult period."