TEACHERS at a fee-paying preparatory school facing closure are not guaranteed a job at the ‘parent’ school it is affiliated to, The Northern Echo has learnt.

It was revealed earlier this month that governors of Yarm at Raventhorpe School, in Darlington, had launched a consultation with parents over plans to close the school at the end of the academic year.

The Northern Echo understands the plans are financially motivated, as Raventhorpe has just 80 pupils and needs at least 105 to make it financially viable.

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In 2006, the governors of Yarm School, an educational charity, stepped in to help Raventhorpe when it got into difficulty.

Pupils from Raventhorpe are being offered a place in the prep school at Yarm, but the same cast-iron guarantee is not being offered to Raventhorpe’s 18 teachers and support staff.

A spokeswoman for Yarm School said staff at Raventhorpe would be offered alternative employment at Yarm “where possible” if the closure goes ahead.

Parents of pupils at Raventhorpe held a meeting with Yarm headteacher David Dunn and two school governors last Monday evening.

Free transport between Darlington and Yarm, for children aged seven and over, will be available for the first year.

However, it is understood there won't be an adult chaperone on the bus, something which is a concern to many parents.

The meeting was told that a decision to close Raventhorpe, subject to consultation, was taken in December but parents were not told until earlier this month so as not to ruin Christmas.

It was also revealed that a widely advertised open day held before Christmas was attended by just two families.

One parent, who asked not to be named, said: "There are no other proposals on the table. The only one is closure.

“Parents and children are absolutely devastated because the school is something special, it is like a real family and sadly that is what will be lost.

"All the children feel it, it is a special place for them. Everyone is just really upset because we never saw it coming."

A spokeswoman for Yarm School added: “Everyone at the school is very sad at the thought that it may close, but if the proposal goes ahead, we hope that pupils will join the prep school at Yarm where they are guaranteed a warm welcome.”