Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Parents have two weeks to save private school

St Margaret's school
Image caption St Margaret's school has gone into administration

Parents have set themselves a two-week deadline to save a private school that has gone into administration in Edinburgh.

It follows talks between a group of families with children at St Margaret's School and receivers KPMG on Monday.

It is understood the school is at least £2m in debt as a result of falling pupil numbers.

The group of banking, property and marketing experts have come up with a business plan to save the school.

It was announced last week that the school would close at the end of term on 29 June.

The school, including the nursery has 397 pupils and 143 staff - 69 teaching and 74 non-teaching.

Senior pupils pay £2,456 per term and boarders £2,628 per term.

The business plan proposes some "very radical surgery" including cutting staff, raising school fees and selling the nursery building.

St Margaret's Parent and Friends Association, which was set up to raise money for extra items at the school, is now being used to fundraise to save the 120-year-old institution.

Lisa Ahmed, vice chairwoman of St Margaret's Parent and Friends Association, told the BBC Scotland news website: "We have to think we can get the £2m by the end of term on 29 June. Since we received the news on Thursday we have all been working 24 hours a day to come up with a viable and sustainable business plan.

"We set up a bank account and we have been appealing for white knights to give us money towards saving the school.

"I received a call from the parent of a former pupil who pledged £10,000 because she said the school must not close.

"At Monday night's meeting, which lasted about 90 minutes, four liquidators were present, including Blair Nimmo, and it was as amicable as it could be.

"KPMG is very aware that we are deadly serious and that our heads are not in the clouds.

"Just because the business was mismanaged doesn't mean it should affect the pupils."

She also added that some parents with, for example, three children, had paid for next year's fees in advance in order to gain a discount and were now worried they had lost up to £30,000.

She said there were also children at the school on bursaries who had missed next year's deadline for an award at another school.

Blair Nimmo, of KPMG, said: "We had a very helpful meeting with the consortium last night (Monday). We provided them with further information and an explanation of the process.

"As we understand it they have gone off to consider their position with a view to seeing if they can come up with a plan."

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