St Michael's Nursery in Tawstock celebrates surviving one year after closure fears
Children at a Devon nursery are preparing for a Christmas celebration which seemed unlikely less than a year ago when they faced the looming threat of closure.
St Michael's Independent School in Tawstock did close last year, after 71 years, and was turned into a family home. But the on-site nursery, its 100 children and 28 staff were spared the axe and are this week getting ready to mark the first 12 months of a new era.
Sarah Sexon, manager, said the youngsters, aged three and four years old, were rehearsing hard for a nativity play on Friday, at St Peter's Church in the village. She added: "People tried very hard last Christmas to save the school and failed, so it is a bit of an emotional time."
"But there is a really bright future now for the nursery and it is good to look forward.
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"The children have been singing carols at the local shopping centre and all have a part in the play – some of them speaking. It is an exciting time. We are still here and can plan for the next year."
St Michael's, a private school with fees of £9,000 a year, was set up during the Second World War for evacuated boys from Sussex, but numbers had been decreasing steadily.
Parents and staff learned, some by email, shortly after Christmas 2011, that the school would not re-open in the New Year.
The chairman of governors, Mark Parkhouse expressed "enormous regret" that the governors had placed it in administration with immediate effect.
Around 30 jobs were thought to have been lost.