THE head of a private school said she appreciates tradition but must move on as Godolphin prepares to allow boys for the first time.

Ownership of Godolphin, on Milford Hill, was formally transferred to United Learning on Wednesday, May 1.

Uncertain financial circumstances pushed the school towards joining the registered charity group but current headteacher Jenny Price said the school would still have survived independently.

Mrs Price, who was appointed in January 2023, said: "Godolphin is in a good place. Groups would not look at you if you're not sustainable.

"Our decision was to reflect our quality of education and ensure the long term success and sustainability of the school."

Reluctant to comment on staff lay-offs, Mrs Price said there are change-overs at the end of every economic year due to retirement and promotions but confirmed there have not been any redundancies as a direct result of United Learning.

"We do what we need to do to run our own schools," she added.

Salisbury Journal: Jenny Price, headteacher at Godolphin School.Jenny Price, headteacher at Godolphin School. (Image: Newsquest)

Mrs Price reassured parents that the senior leadership of United Learning schools retain autonomy and there should be "very small" changes for Godolphin pupils and parents.

One of these changes, which Mrs Price clarified was separate from the transfer, was that Godolphin will become a co-education school for the first time in its 240-year history. 

Read more: ​Godolphin to accept boys in 'pivotal moment' in school's history

This was made in response to a need for a day and boarding school for three to 19-year-olds of both sexes in the Salisbury area, according to Mrs Price.

Godolphin Prep will offer boys a place for day and boarding from September, with the opportunity opening to seniors the following year. The school uniform will change to accommodate this.

Mrs Price told the Journal: "We're always looking at ways of moving forward.

"It's a decisions that we have been talked about for a few years."

The Labour party's murmurings of stripping private schools of charity status is "certainly a cause of concern" for the school.

Mrs Price said the school's leadership must keep a "peripheral vision" of what's going on in the world, especially the impact of VAT on school fees and the cost of living crisis.

Salisbury Journal: Godolphin joined United Learning on Wednesday, May 1.Godolphin joined United Learning on Wednesday, May 1. (Image: Newsquest)

Aware of a petition calling for a 12-month moratorium on negotiations with United Learning, started by parents, Mrs Price commented: "We absolutely appreciate the power of tradition but we have to move forward."

"It's a really exciting time for Godolphin. Having United Learning will absolutely ensure the long term success of the school."