Students have begun trickling in to Mowbray College's Melton campus for what will be their last day at the cash-strapped school.
Students have arrived on foot and in cars wearing the school's maroon colours, walking past a home-made sign that someone has posted on the building announcing the school was "For Sale".
Parents and students have pleaded to state and federal politicians to keep their school open but have failed to secure a lifeline.
The Victorian Supreme Court today approved a $1 million loan, which will allow the VCE students to complete the term and teachers to compile scholastic records for students seeking a new school.
College administrator Jim Downey said the entire school would have closed without the loan.
Click on the image below for our gallery of Mowbray College's last day.
But Justice Ross Robson only approved the loan after the government agreed to sit behind a list of unsecured creditors, effectively conceding it would not be repaid.
Mr Downey's barrister Carl Moller said the government would have been unlikely to be repaid even if it had been prioritised ahead of unsecured creditors.
''The general pool of unsecured creditors would stand to get even less of nothing,'' he said.
The school, which has three campuses, was placed into administration last month after it reportedly ran up debts of $18 million.
Parent Andrea Mack, whose 15-year-old son William attends Mowbray, praised teachers for standing by students in the school's final days.
Holding flowers and a bottle of wine to give to teachers, she said the school provided education primarily and should be saved by the government. The school is in Prime Minister Julia Gillard's electorate.
William said he was devastated by the school's closure and he would be separated by his friends when he finds a new school near the family home in Sunshine.
He said some students had been crying in the past few days about the school's closure.
Mr Downey had earlier today told ABC 774 that the private school had $2 million in unpaid fees and it may have to sue parents to collect them.
He said several schools had approached him about taking over Mowbray College, but that would have to wait until at least February.
He said the school had a payroll of $500,000 a fortnight.
The Mowbray Action Group is calling for a formal inquiry into how the school accrued $18 million of debt.
Parent Leonie Harrison, whose husband was one of the founding students at Mowbray, said the school had sufficient enrollments to sustain keeping open at least two campuses.
"It really has gone very wrong - it should never have happened," she said. "Two months ago was when we were first told there would need to be some consolidation due to debt.
"Prior to that last day of term we had no idea. We knew we had some financial worries but we didn't realise that would mean closing down campuses."
Ms Harrison said her parents-in-law had been among a group of parents who had fought to have an independent school in the western suburbs.
"At that time 30 years ago there was nothing out here - people who wanted to access independent schools were driving into the city," she said.
Ms Harrison said she had enrolled her daughters, who were in prep and year 2, into a private school at Caroline Springs. She said it was the only school she could find that, like Mowbray College, offered places from prep to year 12.
"This is my particular focus for a school - to establish life-long friendships," she said.
- with AAP and Megan Levy