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UK: Malvern to close Brighton school

Malvern International has taken the decision to shut down its Brighton school, in a measure described as “resource diversion” and a “voluntary” move, its CEO said.

The decision was described as "voluntary", and reflected the projection that returns would not be sufficient. Photo: Pexels

There was expectation that there would be “growth in all divisions” in 2024

The Brighton location, which was a much smaller school than the company’s London and Manchester branches, was providing uncertain return on investment, and therefore focus will be diverted to continuing to grow its existing branches.

“This decision has not been made lightly,” Malvern International CEO Richard Mace told The PIE News.

“It was clear to the board and the ELT senior leadership team following our review of the Brighton branch that, despite the best efforts of our colleagues in Brighton, we would unlikely be able to deliver the critical mass needed to make the business profitable without significant further investment.

“[Such investment] was not prudent given insufficient visibility of student take up,” he added.

The move comes after Malvern saw promising results in its most recent financial reports – interim results released at the end of September confirmed a 66% hike in student numbers in the ELT branch of the business compared to H1 of 2022.

Despite this, there was expectation that there would be “growth in all divisions” in 2024. While the closure of the Brighton school may not heavily impact this, it is an unexpected move.

“The centre accounts for c.5% revenue and is expected to deliver a loss of c. £100,000 for the year ended 31 December 2023,” the statement on the closure read.

The statement also made it clear with a break clause in the lease, it was either that the school would be locked in for another five years with the loss projections, or it could end the lease and divert investments elsewhere.

“[Such investment] was not prudent given insufficient visibility of student take up”

“The closure of the school will allow us to divert these resources into growing our London and Manchester ELT centres, our Juniors division and our university partnerships activities, where we’re seeing better returns,” Mace added.

The University pathway program grew by 247% compared to H1 2022, to 500 students, and its junior programs are seeing record levels.

Both Manchester and London’s branches of Malvern have also returned to pre-covid levels, according to the interim review.

The PIE was told that provisions were being made for the remaining 20 or so students at Malvern International’s Brighton branch, which will continue teaching through November. Conversations are ongoing for transfers of staff to either other branches of Malvern or other ELT schools across the country.

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