Plans to establish a new Gordonstoun school in Canada have stalled just months before it was due to open.
The prestigious school revealed plans last year to establish a base in Nova Scotia in co-operation with a Canadian company and the local authority, Annapolis County.
It followed on from plans to develop a network of franchise Gordonstoun schools around the globe, including China.
At the time, school principal Lisa Kerr said it would “pave the way for more children to benefit from an education based on Gordonstoun’s unique ethos, which combines high academic achievement with exhilarating outdoor experiences and a strong commitment to service to the community.”
However, despite a proposed autumn opening date for the Nova Scotia school, work is yet to start on the redevelopment on the 250-acre site of a former theme park.
New school head decides to stay in Australia
And now Simon Lees, the proposed head of school, has withdrawn his resignation from his current academy in Australia and will not be taking up the post with Gordonstoun Nova Scotia.
Gordonstoun bosses have confirmed the ambitious transatlantic project had stalled.
In a statement, they said: “We are disappointed that Simon Lees has decided to withdraw from this position but we wish him all the best with his return to Toowoomba Anglican School.
“Gordonstoun’s partners in Annapolis County are crucial to this venture and we very much hope that they will be in a position to move ahead with the Nova Scotia campus in the near future.”
Security personnel guarding the site claimed earlier this year they had not been paid for weeks, and only received their wages after the local authority stepped in on “compassionate grounds”.
It is understood that legal action over the development is now pending in the Canadian courts. The municipality of the County of Annapolis previously committed to a $7.2million (£4.2m) loan agreement with developer EA Farren Ltd to advance the project.
In January, the project’s principal pro tem, Richard Thorne, resigned.
Writing on the Friends of Gordonstoun Nova Scotia Facebook page, he said: “With disappointment, I read the recent post on Simon Lees’ withdrawal from his position as Principal of Gordonstoun Nova Scotia.
“As the previous principal pro tem, I resigned in January of this year from that position. At that time there was no longer a functioning team working on the school project but much future hope was placed on the arrival of Simon Lees.”
EA Farren Ltd has been contacted for comment.