Proposals for new school to rise from ashes of closed Walden School

09 November, 2017 - 06:00
Walden School in Saffron Walden

Walden School in Saffron Walden


A group of former governors, parents and staff from the Walden School, which went into administration this summer, have put forward a proposal to re-open the site.

The independent Gibson House School would run a Quaker-based curriculum from ages 3-18, with the first aspect – a nursery and prep school – opening in September next year if the scheme comes to fruition.

The team behind the plans says it is commercially viable, and crucially the site’s sale would allow people owed money after the last school went into administration to be paid. A creditors’ report revealed debts of £3.5million.

Walden School goes into administration

Enabling development of housing would not be needed, and the sports facilities at the Mount Pleasant Road site would also be available for community groups such as the town’s rugby and triathlon clubs.

Behind the proposals are Charlotte Phillips and Andrew Law, parents of pupils at Walden School, former teacher Richard Smith, and Douglas Kent, a past pupil and governor there – who head up a wider team.

A prospective headteacher has been identified and is working with the leadership team.

Mr Kent said: “I resigned my position in April at the way things were going, having been on the board for ten years. I got involved with a group which wanted to save the site for education, and it has been a roller coaster of twists and turns.

“We understand the previous school failed for a reason, and the team was doing the best it could with the resources it had. But we have a detailed marketing plan and we feel it’s important the school offers a holistic approach that is not just focused on exams – and feel it is viable.

“Our scheme would cover all the costs incurred previously – there should not be creditors left out of pocket.

“The big concern is there are developers who want to get in with a housing estate.

Call to list Walden School site

“We don’t believe there’s a need for housing as enabling development – that would be killing the goose that lays the golden egg, and would seriously compromise use of the site for the sports curriculum and the local community.”

In all the school would include a day nursery, prep school, secondary school and sixth form, with boarding options for pupils. The senior school could open in September 2019 as part of the proposals.

The proposals are being presented to a full meeting of Saffron Walden Town Council on Monday evening.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Saffron Walden Reporter visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Saffron Walden Reporter staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Saffron Walden Reporter account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

A former Grade II listed five bedroom medieval hall house in Newport, dating back to the 16th century, with reputed links to the notable diarist, Samuel Pepys, has gone on the market.

Yesterday, 13:54

A group of people who breached Stansted Airport’s security fence before chaining themselves together in front of a plane were convicted today (December 10).

Legally-owned guns are being targeted and stolen from rural homes across Essex, a police chief has said.

Great Dunmow Rotary Club raised more than £1,250 to help end polio by dining on a frugal slice of bread and soup at Dunmow restaurant on October 25.

Digital Edition

Read the Saffron Walden Reporter e-edition E-edition

Most read stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Saffron Walden Reporter weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy