AN international school which charges parents up to GBP23,400 a year to educate their gifted children has gone out of business.
It is understood some parents of foreign pupils at Cademuir International School have not been fully reimbursed for substantial fees.
The private boarding school, based in a baronial house set in 30 acres of Dumfriesshire countryside, ceased operating several weeks ago.
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Official records show Cademuir owed nearly GBP70,000 at the time of its winding down.
Fees at the school in Moniaive, which received no state funding, were as much as GBP23,400 for a year's full boarding, and it received upwards of GBP1.25m a year from parents.
According to accounts filed in June, annual staff salaries accounted for more than GBP717,000 but exact figures are in doubt because auditors scrutinising the paperwork said there was insufficient information to judge whether they represented a "true and fair" view of the company's accounts.
Four members of the school's board of governors resigned in the past 18 months while the Royal Bank of Scotland recently withdrew its support and is seeking immediate repayment of money it is owed.
It is believed the B-listed Crawfordton House, valued at around GBP900,000, was subsequently put up for an immediate sale, with potential for residential development.
Cademuir, overlooking the Maxwelton Braes, was established 16 years ago and catered for "high ability" children between the ages of eight and 20, the majority of whom were particularly bright German youths with IQs of more than 130.
It aimed to enable all pupils to benefit from tertiary education appropriate to his or her interests, needs and career aspirations.
The co-educational school also helped children of high intelligence with learning difficulties such as dyslexia or Asperger's Syndrome who felt impeded by the state education system.
However, in recent years, Cademuir has been the subject of scathing reports from school inspectors and was a source of concern to Jack McConnell during his tenure as education minister.
Not only was the quality of the school's curricular provision, teaching standards and leadership found wanting but the safety of pupils was repeatedly called into question.
Pupil rolls dropped dramatically as Cademuir's lifespan drew to a close. Whereas a decade a go, it attracted nearly 100 pupils, it ended with only 34 children on its roll. Similarly, the staffing situation became increasingly erratic, with a high turnover of teachers.
The director of the school company, trustee, and chairman of its board of governors was Robert Mulvey, a 69-yearold former head of modern languages at Aberlour, Gordonstoun's preparatory school.
Teachers at Cademuir had expressed concern over how the school was being managed. One former member of staff said: "Cademuir always had financial problems, it was common knowledge among those in the school.
"There were often disputes between Mulvey and staff about pay, and parents raised concerns to staff too about value for money. The fees were incredibly high."
The telephone line at Cademuir, also the given address of Mr Mulvey, is out of service. Lindsays WS, the school's solicitors, did not return The Herald's calls.