Blanchelande College has acquired the Vauxbelets site, home of the College since 1999, for a purchase price of £1.4m.
The Vauxbelets estate is estimated to cover 40 acres and includes the original 18th century house Vauxbelets de Haut, Vauxbelets de Bas farm buildings, large early 20th century school buildings, extensive playing fields, additional outbuildings and agricultural land. The estate was formerly owned by the French province of the De La Salle Brothers, with whom the Trustees of Blanchelande College have been in negotiations to acquire ownership.
Since the College moved to Les Vauxbelets in 1999, the De La Salle Brothers have rented the property to Blanchelande on condition of it being run as a Catholic school, and the Trustees have confirmed that this understanding applies to the running of the College in the future.
In a letter to parents the Trustees state that the purchase of the Vauxbelets means that the development of the College can continue on the most sure footing possible. ‘Outwardly, for parents and students, the position remains as before with the site continuing to be used for the provision of education with a Catholic ethos by the College, except for those parts of the site used by commercial businesses. The provision of Catholic education, which plays so positive a part in the diversity of choice within Guernsey’s educational system, is at the very heart of the vision of both the Brothers and of The Blanchelande College Trust.’
In their letter, the Trustees reassure parents that the purchase is intended to facilitate future fundraising for investment. ‘The purchase brings the strong benefits of permanence and of course will be a more sound basis for effective fundraising for the further improvement of our educational facilities. Parents, former students and other supporters of Blanchelande regularly make generous donations to enable improvements to the physical development of the estate, and they will now do so knowing that the College has the security of ownership.
The Trustees have also emphasized the affordability of the repayment schedule. ‘Financially, the agreement has been carefully considered on both sides. The Brothers have agreed to receive payment over a ten-year period. We would like to acknowledge the commitment of the Brothers to securing the future of Blanchelande and to Catholic education on Guernsey.’