IN a poignant final message on the day Beaconhurst School locked its doors for the last time, departing deputy head Iain Morrison spoke of his deep sadness.

“I had so many plans. This was to be the best small school in Scotland,” Mr Morrison wrote on the Bridge of Allan school’s social media platforms.

But despite the decline in pupils and the financial difficulties that forced the Stirling school to close, there was also hope for the future.

A cryptic sign-off suggested Beaconhurst could still be the best in Scotland with Mr Morrison adding: “You will hear it here first. Until then.”

Now it has emerged a Malaysian-based company which runs a string of international schools has bought Beaconhurst and intends to open a new school in August.

Fairview International was founded in Kuala Lumpur in 1978 and now runs four schools in Malaysia teaching International Baccalaureate (IB) programmes to some 3,000 students.

The move to take over Beaconhurst would be the first time Fairview has expanded outside of Malaysia.

A spokeswoman for the company said an application had been lodged with the independent schools registrar for a junior school called Fairview Beaconhurst.

The school would also run IB programmes and hope to recruit both Scottish students as well as those from overseas. Teachers would also be recruited from Scotland and internationally.

The spokeswoman said: “We have been looking to expand to the UK for quite a while and this seemed like a perfect opportunity.

“We will be delivering an international style of education through the IB and we would use international staff trained in IB as well as those from Scotland. We are speaking to former teachers from Beaconhurst as part of this process.

“Initially we will be looking to recruit Scottish students, but because we have access to potential students in south east Asia and China, more than likely we will also bring in international students here.”

The spokeswoman said Fairview Beaconhurst would be the first school to open in the UK, but the company would also be looking at sites in the rest of the UK as part of the expansion.

“The vision of the board of governors is not a single school in the UK, but Beaconhurst is the first. Ultimately we want to make Beaconhurst a boarding school again and return it to its heyday.”

The school said it intended to charge fees to pupils, but they would be set at a competitive level.

She said: “We are a private school and we are charging fees, but we believe in affordable education.We aim to provide quality and affordable education to the global community.

“Elite education tends to be for the few and we don’t believe that should be the case particularly in the current financial climate.”

By the time Beaconhurst closed it had some 500 pupils, but the new owners believe it would have a capacity of up to 900 when fully modernised.

Because Fairview intends to open as a junior school at first the owners hope to attract up to 300 pupils by August.

Last summer, Beaconhurst governors were forced to call in administrators after a crowdfunding campaign to save the school was deemed too uncertain.

The governors had previously announced the senior school was being axed and merged with Crieff independent school Morrison’s Academy.

However, just a week later they announced the private school’s nursery and junior departments were also to shut.

Since then a ‘Save Beaconhurst’ campaign raised more than £40,000 in online pledges.

However, the board of governors said creditors would have to be given priority in the administration process before any other options could be considered.

The board had asked accountancy firm Pricewaterhouse Cooper to review the plan being developed by the campaigners against various criteria, including access to the required level of short and longer term funding, evidence of projected pupil numbers and the ability of the proposal to service existing debt within the school.

However, following a meeting between the board, PwC and representatives from the group, the board “reluctantly” agreed with PwC’s recommendation to call in administrators.

They said the campaign group’s ability to secure funds or pupil numbers was too unclear to proceed at that stage.

A spokesman for Education Scotland said: “The Registrar of Independent Schools is aware of plans to register and open an independent school on the site of the former Beaconhurst School.

"As with all applications of this nature, once the relevant documents have been submitted, the Scottish Ministers will determine whether registration is appropriate.”

Although there has been a school at the current location for nearly 100 years, Beaconhurst was actually established in 1976 following the merger of two schools. These were the Beacon School for Girls which was founded on the Bridge of Allan site in 1919 and Hurst Grange, a boys’ school in Stirling, which also opened in 1919.

Originally known as Beaconhurst Grange, the establishment began life as a boarding school. Then in the early 1990s, a decision was taken to develop the all-through independent day school, for pupils aged 3-18.