The Gauteng department of education says officials are gathering information after learning a prestigious private school in Bedfordview, Bishop Bavin, allegedly closed its doors on Thursday.
“We received that information this morning and our officials have already commenced with a process to gather information on developments. We will update on any developments at a later stage,” department spokesperson Steve Mabona said on Friday.
Mabona added “many independent schools are experiencing financial difficulties as some parents are not paying fees as expected”.
The Bedfordview and Edenvale News earlier reported the school was closing down due to financial troubles, saying the school had a combined deficit of millions of rand.
A source said the school had informed parents it would open on Wednesday 10 June 2020.
The source alleged parents had to make the necessary payments for this to occur, especially for pupils who were boarding.
“They held a meeting last night [Thursday] at the school, and we were not given direct answers and no solutions at all.
“It is mid-year and the matrics are the biggest concerns. What are parents supposed to do now after paying huge amounts of money and hearing that the school is now bankrupt,” the source added.
A parent of a pupil at the school, who wanted to remain anonymous, said the school had held a meeting where it stated “there was no money and they cannot continue”.
The parent added this issue stemmed from 2016 as the school was on property owned by the Anglican Church.
“We had a meeting yesterday and they gave us more details that the Anglican Church had been providing loans to the school in the region of R12 million, if I’m not mistaken, that is owed.
“Another R10 million loan was taken to do renovations to the school. It looks like the creditor they owe this amount to has liquidated them,” he alleged.
Parents said they have been in the dark about the school’s alleged financial woes and now their children were stranded.
“We were in the dark the whole time, the normal fees are about R11,000 a month, but parents who have their kids as boarders are paying more.
“We are still waiting for confirmation on whether our kids are even registered with the IEB [Independent Examinations Board] for examinations,” one parent added.
News24 has seen correspondence between the school and parents where it is clear the school had informed parents it would re-open its doors for grades 7 and 12 as well as boarders.
A Grade 12 pupil, who cannot be named, returned to the school on Wednesday and found everything was going according to plan until Thursday lunchtime, when the teachers were called into a meeting in the dining hall.
“Some of the teachers were coming out of the meeting crying, the grade tutor called us boarders in tears and told us to pack our things and leave because the school had shut down with immediate effect and that they were all fired,” she said.
The pupil added while she was registered with the IEB for her final examinations, she had received confirmation from the independent body on Friday the fees were not paid and as a result “learners will need to find another school”.
Numerous calls to the school on Friday went unanswered.