Parent spends £1 million buying daughter’s school


A dedicated father has saved his three-year-old daughter’s school from closure – by BUYING it for £1 million.

Parent spends £1 million buying daughter's school

Generous Matt Hill, 38, was devastated when he heard Olivia’s school, The Mill School in Potterne, Wilts., would be forced to close at the end of the summer term.

He could not bear the thought of her taking her lessons elsewhere – and so made an offer on the private school with business partner Dave Stanley.

The pair, who run training solutions firm Forward Thinking Solutions, were delighted when their £1 million bid was accepted.

They now have joint ownership of the school, which caters for ages 2-11, and have pledged that all members of staff and 65 pupils will remain there.

Father-of-two Matt, who lives in Seend Cleeve, Wilts., said he was ”delighted” with his new acquisition, which is largely situated in an 18th century water mill.

He said: ”We were devastated when we received the letter from the school informing us of the need to close, and started racking our brains for ways to help.

”It’s in an idyllic location. When me and my wife visited it we fell in love with it. All of the existing teachers and staff remain.

”It’s a very exciting opportunity for us as we can bring the expertise in from our other companies and invest in marketing and refurbishment and improve the offering for the children, parents and staff.

”It’s amazing how little known the school is. It is Wiltshire’s best kept secret.”

Previous owner John Rendell announced that The Mill School would be shut down in July, after 18 years of operation, on May 9.

A number of parents began discussing how to keep it open but a parent buy-out was deemed not possible.

Instead, Matt and Dave approached John and were ”over the moon” when their offer of around £1 million was accepted.

They became co-partners on May 20 during a meeting and presentation ceremony for all staff and parents.

The school will now also be used for Forward Thinking Solutions classes in the evenings and non-term times.

It currently has 65 pupils, aged between two and 11, but has a capacity of 112. Fees are £7,500 each year. Currently, 80 per cent of pupils go on to receive scholarships.

Deputy head Sylvia Parry said: ”It was an awful day when we sent the letter home to the parents.

”There were tears and angst as parents were rushing to secure places in other schools for next September.

”It was such a wonderful day when we could tell them the school didn’t have to close. When I told my class they cheered.”

An open day for the school will be held on June 14.


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