'We hope to re-open in September,' say Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley
A school which closed for business in June is aiming to return in 2019.
Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley (RSSKL) was a £9,857-a-year private school which was forced to shut after a number of issues with safeguarding and insurance.
But this week the Gazette met with Steffi Cook, a long-time employee who is now one of the new trustees, and she laid out the school’s vision.
She said: “Our goal is to have a Steiner school again. We want Steiner education on this site in the future.
“We’re working towards that as quickly and professionally as possible – but we’re also not rushing into anything.”
Steffi laid out two possibilities – an outside group coming in and launching a new school, or the kindergarten which has remained open being allowed to grow by adding one extra year group until it can teach children until age 19.
But she admitted that the new school could not simply be a return of RSSKL.
She said: “We need to sort RSSKL’s legacy and give way to a new Steiner initiative.
“The community has dispersed, but I think they would be back if we could offer a new school in September. Our community was here for 70 years and it would rebuild quite quickly.”
Steffi is a former sixth-form student at the school who went on to work as admissions officer before becoming a German and cookery teacher at RSSKL. Her four children also attended the school.
Over the summer it had briefly seemed that RSSKL would stay open in some form thanks to the Alpha Schools group who were expected to open a ‘new’ school on the site, which would still teach RSSKL’s Waldorf curriculum and employ the same staff. However this deal fell through with conflicting claims of why it did not happen.
Steffi said: “There was a real hope that we could hold the community together if we had something to offer in September.”
Last week the Gazette reported on RSSKL’s sale of two properties to raise funds.
These can now be revealed as Nutgrove, a one-bedroom property which is likely to need either significant renovation or demolition, and Prioriy Lodge, a single property which was previously two flats. Both were staff accommodation until June.
There have also been rumours of selling the cricket pitches.
Steffi Cook said: “It’s no secret that we’re exploring our financial situation and the options we have. We can’t pay our staff, and launch a new school without money.
“Personally I’d rather sell a bit of cricket fields than sell buildings, but other people have other views.
“If it comes to selling more you’ll hear about it, but we won’t necessarily be able to consult the entire community.”
And Steffi admitted that the atmosphere at the school had been affected since the primary and secondary students left for good in May.
Although many staff have been working their notice until the end of December, others have found jobs elsewhere.
This has particularly affected RSSKL as a large number of staff live on-site.
She said: “It is weird. It is sad. But that’s life.
“It was amazing how the children kept so focused, right until the end of term. That was a credit to the staff.
“And on the last day we had a celebration of the school.”