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EMC brokers a bright new future for Skippers Hill Manor School

Leading East Sussex preparatory school Skippers Hill Manor has been sold for an undisclosed sum in a deal brokered by EMC Corporate Finance.

The school, which stands in 32 acres of Sussex Weald land at Five Ashes, near Mayfield, has been acquired by Mark Malley, owner and headmaster of Norfolk House Preparatory School in Muswell Hill, London.

Owner Maxine Assayag, whose parents started the school in 1945, made the decision to sell following the sudden death of her husband, Sydney, in November last year. The couple had taken over the school from Maxine’s parents in 1990.

She said: “Skippers Hill has been a very big part of my life. Sydney and I came here in 1978 to help my parents who by then had been running it for 33 years. We bought it from them 12 years later and have thoroughly enjoyed helping to create an environment in which children flourish, where their talents and needs are recognised and where they can develop creatively, intellectually, morally, physically and socially.

“However, the time is now right to hand on the baton and I am utterly convinced that my choice of Mark Malley as the new owner is the right one. He is an educationalist at heart and has the experience and expertise to make Skippers Hill an even better school than we are already. He is a charming man, full of ideas for the future and I know that he and our long-standing headmaster, Tim Lewis, will work together with the established staff to paint a bright future for Skippers.”

EMC chief executive Nik Askaroff and consultant Gill Levett advised Mrs Assayag on the sale. She added: “I thoroughly enjoyed working with Nik and Gill throughout the process of marketing and selling Skippers Hill.  Their professionalism and judgement were, at all times, faultless. Gill’s contribution to the marketing aspect in particular was invaluable, and she made the process easier in every respect.”

Her words were echoed by Mark Malley who said: “I found dealing with EMC through my recent acquisition of Skippers Hill Manor School to be incredibly professional. Their guidance and helpful advice was appreciated, as was their intimate knowledge of the sector.
“EMC provided thorough and clear information to assist me in my acquisition. They are ethical, incisive and add significant value to their clients. I highly recommend them and will certainly use their services again.”

Mr Malley, who also owns Weston Green School in Thames Ditton, Surrey, and sits on the Board of the Independent Schools Association, is looking forward to helping to develop the school further.

He said: “I loved Skippers the moment I saw it. This is a wonderful school set in such beautiful surroundings, and the more time I spent there, the more I knew that it is really something special. The teachers at Skippers share the same values as me: they care about each pupil, they encourage a love of learning and they are deeply committed to ensuring that every child meets, if not exceeds their potential.

“The school has many great strengths and I am very excited about building on them and creating even more wonderful opportunities for its pupils.”

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