A petition has been started online to oppose plans for changes at The Godolphin School announced in November.

In November, Godolphin School announced a takeover by the United Learning group and a transition to a co-educational model beginning in 2024 for Godolphin Prep and 2025 for Godolphin Senior.

The consolidation of Godolphin with United Learning will become effective on Thursday, February 1, 2024.

The petition, created by Elena Oderstone, asks for a 12-month pause on the negotiations with United Learning and on any “transfer of any property, freehold or leasehold, or any other encumbrance over the property.”

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The petition simultaneously opposes plans for the admission of boys, claiming “there is a significant body of research that unequivocably (sic) shows that girls in an all-girls environment out-perform those in co-education.”

The petition also labels the plans an “extreme, reckless and irreversible action,” and said the “plan and longstanding negotiation has been carried out behind closed doors and with no consultation with parents or, it would seem, appropriate due diligence and we suggest this represents poor business practice and gross mis-management on the part of the current school leadership”.

The petition further accused Godolphin leadership of announcing the planned changes at the “last minute” before Christmas break to limit opportunity for challenges.

In letters to parents, Jenny Price, Head of Godolphin said: "This decision marks a pivotal moment in Godolphin's history. Our founder, Elizabeth Godolphin looked to the future in her commitment to the education of girls.

"By extending our welcome to boys, we aim to enrich our school community with a broader range of perspectives, talents, and experiences. We look forward to an exciting future for Godolphin as it looks to write the next chapter in its proud history.”

The schoo told the Journal: "The Governors believe [the takeover] will significantly enhance the quality and sustainability of education at Godolphin, accessing a network of educators, sharing best practices and resources.  As a charity operating a group of schools, United Learning will provide Godolphin with a secure future, ensuring that the school can continue to invest in facilities and educational resources to benefit Godolphin and their students; while also providing a future for education and jobs in Salisbury."

As of writing on Tuesday, December 26, the petition has received 147 signatures out of a goal of 200.