A local council has bought up the site and buildings of an independent school that had to close due to financial difficulties made worse by the pandemic.
Dorset Council has purchased the closed St Mary’s School near Shaftesbury for £10.5 million, The Salisbury Journal reports.
In July, the school confirmed it was shutting permanently. The Sunday Times reported that a £6m rescue package from the Shanghai-based Achieve Education Group had suddenly been withdrawn, citing political tensions between London and Beijing.
A vigorous parent-led campaign to save the school was also unsuccessful as not enough pupils were signed up for the autumn term for the school to be viable.
Dorset council says it wants the extensive and historic site with 55 acres of grounds to become “an asset to the community” and could be used for educational and social purposes.
St Mary’s is among a number of independent schools to close last year, including Ashdown House, the former school of Boris Johnson.