A newly-formed company – funded by China Financial Services Holdings (CFSH) – is in the process of acquiring one of Norfolk’s oldest schools.
Thetford Grammar School (TGS), which is at least more than 900 years old, has suffered financial problems in recent years due, in part, to a decline in its pupil intake – from about 330 eight years ago to 221 currently, significantly lower than its 345 capacity.
But now Thetford Grammar School Ltd, a UK company funded by Hong Kong-based investment holding company CFSH, has pledged to provide the school with the financial stability it needs, enabling it to make much-needed investment in infrastructure, especially IT and transport.
Headmaster Mark Bedford, who will remain in place, alongside his senior leadership team, said the acquisition was an ‘exciting opportunity’ to secure the future of TGS for generations to come.
He added: “Like many independent schools, we have faced a tough financial environment over recent years, but by taking prompt action we have been able to place the school on a firm financial footing for the future.
“The acquisition of the school by a well-funded new owner will eradicate the deficit, and enable us to invest in some key areas. Our priority is to ensure that many generations to come will be able to send their children to TGS to enjoy the quality teaching and happy environment we have here for our pupils and students.
“We will continue to take all decisions with the best interests of our pupils and students at heart, and I want to reassure parents that it is very much business as usual – with the added bonus of being able to plan to make investments in the school for the future.”
The future governance of the school is currently under discussion but the new board is likely to include some of the current governors, in an advisor capacity.
The sale is expected to be completed towards the end of June.
Established in 1993, CFSH is a leading non-bank financial institution which specialises in small and medium-sized enterprises and has an interest in education.