Diagrama Foundation proposes merger with Walden School

04 Jul 2017

Diagrama Foundation is meeting with staff and parents at Walden School next week to discuss plans to save the school from closure at the end of term.

Governors at Walden School, in Saffron Walden, Essex announced in May plans to close the school at the end of the summer term. Following discussions with interested parties, The Board of Governors have now agreed in principle for Diagrama Foundation to take over the existing school and keep it open for existing and new pupils in September 2017.

Meetings with staff and parents will be taking place over the next few days of the week beginning July 3, 2017.

A statement released by the Board of Governors said: “It is hoped that many of the current pupils will remain at the school to continue their education. Staff are to be given the opportunity to retain their jobs if that is their wish.”

The agreement sets out Diagrama’s commitments to retaining the assets of the school for educational purposes in perpetuity and to continuing to operate in line with the values and ethos of the school that exists today. The transition would be expected to be concluded by the end of July.

Diagrama’s Chief Executive David McGuire said: “Diagrama is dedicated to realising Walden School’s vision of creating the best school in the region with an environment in which students can become mindful, rounded individuals, who are an asset to society.

“We aim to ensure this happens as quickly as possible by working closely with all staff and parents every step of the way so that, as a community, we can all help shape the future for Walden School together, always mindful of respecting the school’s origins and ethos.

“This is an exciting development for Diagrama. Education lies at the core of our work and for 25 years we have been delivering excellence in this field through our programmes and centres around the world. We plan to operate Walden School in its current structure - as an independent school, serving children from 3-18 years and we are delighted to have this opportunity to further expand our educational services. 

“We are fully committed to making the necessary investment to ensure Walden School offers a bright, secure and exciting future for the children that attend and for the staff that work so hard to provide such an excellent service.” 

Diagrama Foundation, which has grown from a single project into a highly respected global foundation, now holds consultative status to the United Nations, having educated more than 55,000 children and young people in formal academic education and 104,000 in non-formal (vocational) education. We currently employ more than 1,800 teachers and social educators around the world.

Susan Garratt, Chair of Governors, said: “Following a series of discussions, we are delighted to confirm that we have reached an agreement which should enable the school to remain open and supports the Trust’s original aim of providing education in Saffron Walden.”

Mrs Garratt added: “We received proposals from a number of other parties, each of which was closely scrutinised with the support of our business and financial advisors. Mindful of the vision of George Gibson when he donated the land, the needs of the local community, and our charitable aims and objectives of sustaining education on the site, we believe this proposal presents the most suitable option to save the school from closure.”

Mrs Garratt added: “The Board would like to express its full support for and sincere thanks to the current Senior Management Team who continue to work extremely hard for the benefit for the school and the children as well as our indebted gratitude to all the staff for their significant contribution.”

Meetings will be held with parents on Monday and Tuesday next week, times to be confirmed by the school. Individual meetings are to be arranged with staff. 

Diagrama welcomes all enquiries from stakeholders, which should be addressed to waldenschool@diagrama.org in the first instance.


About Diagrama Foundation

Diagrama Foundation is a charity dedicated to supporting children, young people and adults by providing a range of services including residential, adoption, fostering and education.

Diagrama focuses on the core values of being non-judgemental, providing care and empathy and accepting every person as a unique individual. We believe that, in order to excel in our work, the needs of the individual must lie at the heart of everything we do.

We currently employ around 300 people in the UK across four main sites. Our annual turnover is approximately £4million in the UK and €100 million for our parent charity FundaciĆ³n Diagrama, which has more than 3,500 employees.

Our principles are based on:

  • Quality of care
  • Openness and transparency
  • Involvement of children and young people in the design and delivery of services
  • Participation of children in decisions which affect them individually and collectively
  • Networking, interagency collaboration and benchmarking best practices
  • Raising public awareness, research and international co-operation


Diagrama has over 25 years’ experience in managing educational centres and children’s services. We are located in Spain, Germany, France, Senegal, the US and the UK.

Diagrama has over 35 schools under management in these countries, including an international language school, a medical college, alternative education provision and a large number of residential education centres. The set up of these are very much aligned to traditional independent schools.

In Spain we have a roll of more than 21,000 children and young people in our centres. We employ more than 1,800 teachers and social educators and our centres provide national curriculum education for the children. The same problem.

This is then greatly enhanced with Diagrama’s own first class leisure and enrichment programmes which are tailored to each individual. This ensures that every single child in our care has the opportunity to benefit not only from academic education but also from social education and citizenship skills enabling them to achieve their potential, excel in life and make a positive contribution to society.

Diagrama always draws on best practice models and research to develop its services, intervention strategies for the young people we support and for the wider benefit of the sectors we work in.

Our UK senior executive team has a wide range of operational and management experience/skills across both the ‘not for profit’ and corporate sectors, including experience of TUPE, mergers & acquisitions and change management.  We have an international marketing team, research department and global educational network to support our work as well as relationships with highly influential individuals and organisations such as Cambridge University and the United Nations.