THE company running a private school that announced its shock closure last month has gone into liquidation.
Yesterday, Howell’s School trustee Nicola Locke confirmed “The school has gone into liquidation.”
But disputes over unpaid bills marred GCSE results day at the independent girls’ school.
Though results were “fantastic”, parents claimed the school was withholding some pupils’ until outstanding fees were paid.
Doug Tidswell, father of pupil Emma, 16, said an email told parents not to come to the school to collect GCSE results, as they would be posted.
But yesterday morning there was no results letter, and when he went to the school he was told he owed £3,000.
The issue was resolved after going through payments, he said, but others were still in dispute.
“The school are refusing to release results to parents,” he said,
“There’s a guy there with a credit card machine saying ‘you pay the debt, you get the results’.
“I’m angry, but my daughter is upset.
“My wife was with the PTA, she’s been deputy chair, treasurer and secretary. We’ve put a lot of time and effort into the school and fully supported it.
“We played straight bat and made sure we were fully paid up all along, because we didn’t want any excuses or hassle for our daughter.
“It’s very upsetting and the last thing the girls want on what should have been an exciting day."
The shock announcement Howell’s would not re-open in September was made at the start of August, due to financial uncertainty.
Paul Murray, husband of music teacher and former senior mistress at the school Morwen Murray, joined Mr Tidswell at an informal meeting of pupils, staff and parents on results morning at the Con Amici Bar on Rhyl Road.
“We’ve arranged this morning as we knew the girls would not be allowed to collect their results at the school,” he said.
“To be fair those girls who have got results have been very pleased, but there are still some girls who have not got results because bills are being disputed.
“What right have the school got the withhold results if they’ve sat the exam?”
He said he was aware of two still in dispute in addition to Mr Tidswell’s resolved case, with only 19 pupils in the year.
Last week accountancy firm Royce Peeling Green were appointed as liquidators for the school’s company H2000 Ltd (formerly Howell’s 2000 Ltd).
However, non-school activities continue at the building, owned by trustee and H2000 director Robbie Locke.
At the school, Mr Locke’s wife and fellow trustee Nicola Locke said: “We’ve had fantastic results across the board as always.”
She said parents had had their results in the post as promised.
“There are only a couple of people who haven’t, who had large outstanding bills,” she said.
“All tuition fees must be up to date by the end of the summer term.
“All parents were given sufficient notice and had ample time to make the payments. We’re always happy to take instalments and spread the payments.
“They were informed in writing. They’ve had eight weeks to pay.
“What’s sad is that they tend to ignore the reminders until results day which makes it harder on the girls.
“The last thing we want to do is upset the children.
“We’re proud of all the girls and what they’ve achieved, and the staff and management team, which makes it all the more sad, that we’ve provided such an excellent education and that can’t continue.
“It’s sad for the community,” she added.
She said Adcote School for Girls in Shrewsbury had been “excellent” in taking on many pupils from of Howell’s, so that they could continue in a similar girls-only independent school environment through to 18.