PARENTS and teachers have set up their own independent school weeks after their existing one folded.

The Phoenix School – so named because it has risen from the demise of Ripon Cathedral Choir School – has been set up by volunteers left devastated by the closure of the independent preparatory.

The school’s closure was announced on July 21, shortly after a breakdown in merger talks with nearby Cundall Manor, in Thirsk .

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A handful of parents and teachers gathered together and secured the cathedral choir school’s premises, in College Road, along with equipment, in time for the start of the new term.

A group of teachers have offered to teach for free for one term to help get the school off the ground.

In a joint statement, committee members Catherine Clowe and Emma Warner- Reed said: “As you may be aware, our school has gone through many episodes of financial hardship over the past 30 years, recently the situation for the school had become so dire that the trustees had to make the difficult decision to close the school with immediate effect.

“Parents, teachers and, most importantly, our children, were left with nowhere to turn – the independent and state schools had closed for the summer – it truly was the worst possible timing.”

As well as securing the existing classrooms and enclosed grounds, Phoenix School will also have access to the nearby artificial pitches on the college lawns.

There are plans to open the school to the local community out of school hours, to use for drama, sport and school holiday clubs.

Mrs Clowe said they were now looking for new pupils to attend, and business sponsorship.

She said: “What we need now are the children. It is not viable for the school to be able to open unless we have enough children to attend.”

Ripon Cathedral will continue to be responsible for its choristers, who can now attend any school. Phoenix School will have new trustees and a new governing committee.

The Rev Dan Sladden, from the former Ripon Cathedral Choir school, said: “We’re wishing them every blessing and success in their venture.

We’re trying to be as supportive as we can and talking to them about what we can do.”

The new school will be having an open day on Thursday evening and Saturday morning.

For details contact Mrs Warner-Reed on 01765-689405.