An independent primary school in Weston-super-Mare has announced its closure, citing falling pupil numbers due to the pandemic and cost of living crisis, The Weston Mercury reports.
Ashbrooke House and Pre-school was originally founded in 1953, as a boys prep school, with girls first admitted in the late 1960s.
In 1990, Ashbrooke House School expanded to take pupils from four to 11 years, and in more recent years from the age of three.
But government data on the school shows that while the school had capacity for 80 students, this had dropped to just 50.
The Weston Mercury reports that the school was bought up in 2017 by two former pupils: the school’s headteacher Karen Wallington and Adrian Gifford, an IT consultant. At the time they said they wanted to invest in it and “make it stand out” as the last independent school in Weston. They had expressed hopes of increasing pupil numbers.
Headteacher and director, Karen Wallington, said it was “with a very heavy heart” that the decision had been made to close the school.
She said: “Ashbrooke House School was founded almost 70 years ago and we are proud of the educational service we have provided for the residents of Weston and their children.
“I had the privilege of attending Ashbrooke as a seven-year-old and this school has been my life and passion for the 28 years I have worked here.
“It is with a very heavy heart and enormous regret that I have had to make this heartbreaking decision.”
A statement from Ashbrooke House, published on its website on July 9, said: “Recently due to the pandemic, the increasingly high cost of living and other financial burdens, the number of pupils attending has substantially declined.
“As a consequence, the business cannot continue to operate in a viable way.”
No other parts of the Ashbrooke House website were available to view.
It is unclear when parents found out about the school closure.