Cheltenham private school group expands with acquisition

Dean Close School

The Dean Close Foundation, which consists of Dean Close School in Cheltenham, St John’s on-the-Hill Preparatory School and five nurseries, three in the Chepstow area and two in Cheltenham and Gloucester, has expanded again with the purchase of Airthrie School, Cheltenham.

Airthrie School will be joining the Foundation which currently consists of four schools and a family of Little Trees Nurseries in June 2021.

Emma Taylor, Warden and CEO of the Dean Close Foundation, said: “We are delighted to welcome Airthrie School into our diverse family of schools and nurseries. The Dean Close Foundation has one simple aim; to see every member of its community flourish. The Foundation is a growing, vibrant and diverse family of schools and nurseries.”

The growth of the Dean Close Foundation, which was established in 2015 when Dean Close bought St John’s on-the-Hill in Chepstow, is designed to provide financial strength and contribute educational best practice for all its schools and nurseries.

Airthrie is a thriving prep school for children aged 3-11.

The Foundation structure is designed to ensure that the Head of each school is able to focus on provision of the highest quality education and that he or she knows each child and family personally.  This brings the benefits of being both small and large at the same time with schools and nurseries that are small enough for every individual to count and every contribution to be valued, whilst the Foundation itself is large enough to provide financial stability, professional expertise and strategic planning.

Previous owner and Principal, Beth Sullivan says that it will be “beneficial, to one and all in the Airthrie family both now and in the years to come.”

The pandemic has been tough on the private school sector. According to figures for 2020/21 published by the Department for Education, numbers have dropped 1.3 per cent to a total of just under 577,000 students attending private schools.

Despite the impact of the global pandemic, the acquisition of Airthrie by Dean Close Foundation aims to provide financial strength and contribute educational best practice for the Foundation.