BY A STAFF REPORTER
MOUNT ST MARY'S Convent School, Exeter, this week announced that it is to close as a convent school in 1997 and will reopen as a grant maintained, nonselective school.
, The opening of the new Mount St Mary's School means that for the first time i Catholic eduation will be available to both boys and girls at primary and secondary levels in the Exeter area. The school, currently run by both the Diocese of Plymouth and the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, will take 450 pupils between the ages of 11 to 16 from September 1997.
The decision follows the recent announcement of next year's closure of Palace Gate junior school, also in Exeter.
"For a hundred years the school has given its pupils a high standard of education in a Christian environment, and we look forward to the continuance of the school in its new form," said Sister Guy Marie, the order's regional Superior.
"We pray that in another hundred years time, we will be celebrating its bi-centenary. We are sad that our direct involvement will cease, and in particular about the closure of Palace Gate, but we are delighted that the Diocese are sponsoring the proposed new school."
Michael Bovill, director of schools in the Diocese, told the Catholic Herald: "The order has been generously subsidising the school to the tune of £100,000 a year. With an ageing population, the order now has to prioritise its resources, but wishes to see the school live on."