Scotland’s only Catholic boarding school is to close permanently at the end of the current school term.  

Staff at Kilgraston boarding school in Perthshire were informed by email that the school, which dates back to 1930, will hold its final classes on 24 June.  

Thomas Steuart Fothringham, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, said the decision was “extremely challenging and heart-breaking" but the school was no longer financially viable.  

Kilgraston currently has 116 staff and has 217 registered pupils. Staff were expected to meet with bosses this morning to discuss the situation. 

The school has a reputation for academic excellence and has served Scotland’s wealthy Catholic community for decades.  

Last year it was ranked third in a league table of the best performing independent schools in Scotland for Highers and Advanced Highers. 

In 2015, the school was Sunday Times top performing independent school for both qualifications. 

The Herald:

A statement on the school’s website states: “Kilgraston School can confirm, with regret, that it will permanently close on June 24th. 

“All pupils, parents and staff members have been informed, and discussions are ongoing to ensure that alternative arrangements can be made for all affected.” 

Board Chairman Mr Fothringham blamed the loss of income from Covid pandemic lockdowns, travel restrictions on the international boarding market and the “erosion” of cash reserves for the decision to close.

READ MORE: Best schools in Scotland 2023 revealed by the Sunday Times

He said: “Having considered and pursued all other alternatives we are, for reasons of financial viability, left with no alternative. 

“The loss of income resulting from COVID-19 lockdowns; the effect of lengthy travel restrictions on the international boarding market; the resultant erosion of our cash reserves; and, finally, a number of pupil departures during the course of this year mean that we can no longer continue to trade responsibly beyond the end of this term. 

“At this point, we have three priorities: the welfare of staff, the welfare of pupils; and assistance for parents in finding places for their children at other schools. We will do all we can to help ensure a smooth transition for all affected. 

“We are very sorry not to be able to continue operating a school that is close to all our hearts.” 

The Herald:

The school offers boarding to girls aged eight and above but also has boys among its day pupils.

Former pupils include Scottish international hockey player Louise Baxter, and Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Mairi Gougeon

Set within leafy grounds in rural Perthshire, it has many links in the community and its loss will be keenly felt in the local area. 

Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said on social media that the closure was a "major blow" to the Perthshire economy.

He Tweeted: "I hope that support will be offered to those losing their jobs & places found in other schools for pupils continuing their education."

Cllr for Strathearn on Perth and Kinross Council, Noah Khogali said: “This is really terrible news for all the staff, parents, and students present and past. It’s a massive loss to Perthshire as a whole.”

The nearby boarding school of Strathallen has pledged its support to parents with children at Kilgraston.

The school released a statement, saying: "As our nearest neighbors, we have a long history of friendship with Kilgraston and their closure will leave a gap in the hearts of all our staff, parents, pupils and alumni. 

"We would like to send our thoughts to all families and staff affected by this sudden and sad news. 

READ MORE: Strikes could lead to redundancies at independent school

"We recognise the significance of supporting families during this uncertain time. In order to provide some help to those who might need it." 

The local Ardvreck boarding school, whose pupils often move up to Kilgraston, also offered support. 

Ardvreck's statement said: "The Ardvreck Family is saddened to hear that the wonderful Kilgraston School will be closing at the end of the Summer Term.

"Many of our girls choose Kilgraston as their Senior school and love their educational experience surrounded by familiar Perthshire countryside.

"Our thoughts are with the staff & pupils at this time of uncertainty. As a small, independent school we understand the importance of community and our ‘every day is an open day’ ethos remains true to all Kilgraston families. Our doors are open to assist in any way we can."