Tower Hamlets school could close in matter of weeks after investor pulls out

STOCK IMAGE: River House Montessori School opened in 1994 in Canary Wharf
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

A Montessori school which has been teaching children in East London for the last 30 years is at risk of closing down in a matter of weeks after an investor - during the school's bid for further investment - pulled out last minute. River House Montessori School in Canary Wharf, Tower Hamlets, might not be able to make it to the end of the summer term (July 5) after an investment company "abruptly" pulled out of funding the school.

Acting principal and bursar, Janet Pearson, told distraught parents last week (May 29) that the school would be closing after exploring "every alternative" to try and keep it open. In a letter seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), Ms Pearson, who co-founded the school, said there have been problems with cash flow after receiving an "unjust" inadequate rating from Ofsted in May 2022.

The school says it has seen a reduction in pupil numbers following the Ofsted inspection two years ago, but Ofsted has since assessed it as compliant with all Independent School Regulations. Over the last few months, there had been "lengthy discussions" with two investors made up of an individual and an investment company who wanted to support the school.

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Ms Pearson said in the letter: "Both of these had given us commitment of a wish to invest in the school and the individual, who paid an initial tranche, continued to be committed. However, the investment company told us abruptly last week that they had decided not to proceed. We are at a loss to know why this happened, given that nothing, in terms of the information provided to them, had changed."

One parent, who did not want to be named, told the LDRS that people have been left shocked and "feel terrible" about the possible closure. She said: "I feel really sad for the staff, they are really wonderful people. The teacher for my youngest son is such a lovely man... I just feel sad for these people who have lost their job on the spot.

"The terrible thing is there are just five weeks to go until the end of the school year, but we're not even sure if we have a school for those five weeks." River House Montessori consists of a pre-school for kids aged 3 to 4 years, a primary school and a small secondary school for students up to the age of 16.

The school opened in 1994 and had just five children attending to begin with, but this has since grown to well over 200 students. As a non-selective school, around 40per cent of its pupils receive support for additional education needs including English as a foreign language.

A GoFundMe was set up last week to try and save the school from permanently closing and has raised £75 so far. A spokesperson for River House Montessori said: "The school is very grateful to the parents of children currently attending. They have been very supportive of the school throughout the past two years and continue to be so. Nobody wants to see it have to close."

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