Prep school to close for good after coronavirus ‘unravels plans for growth’
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Moreton Hall Preparatory School in Bury St Edmunds will permanently close at the end of the summer term, as bosses reveal the school is “unsustainable”.
The fee-paying school in Mount Road, which has been educating children since 1961, revealed the permanent closure today with the “greatest regret”.
In a statement, the school said coronavirus had “unravelled plans for future growth” with many parents now finding themselves in difficult financial situations.
Lorna Wakerell, headmistress of the school said: “Moreton Hall Prep School has been a fairytale education for many families. Unfortunately this beautiful school now comes to an end.
“One thing we can be certain is pupils from Moreton Hall are fully prepared to take on life in all its highs and lows. It is a special place here and I could not be prouder of our incredible children at Moreton Hall. I wish every one of our families joy with their onward school journeys.”
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The school revealed there were several reasons for its permanent closure, quoting a number of strategies which have now been stopped due to the current pandemic.
It said over the last decade the market for standalone 13 plus day and boarding schools has become increasingly difficult.
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Its strategies to increase student numbers – including attracting overseas pupils, retaining current pupils and working on a marketing campaign – had shown promise.
Other initiatives, including school partnerships, mergers, real estate development and outside investment were also being explored prior to the global crisis.
“But coronavirus has suddenly unravelled all these plans,” the school explained.
“Many parents now find themselves in difficult financial straits, overseas boarding will not become feasible again until at least 21/22, and we cannot draw on the usual annual income from summer camps. It is a perfect storm.”
The school said governors have therefore made the very difficult, “but in the end unavoidable” decision to close the school at the end of the summer term.
Current students will continue to receive their education throughout the summer term, either remotely or in person as regulations allow and school will finish on Tuesday, June 30.
The school said the decision had been made only “after having exhausted all possible options” and the news “will hit the Moreton Hall family – pupils, parents, and staff – very hard”.
The statement added: “Governors and senior management will seek to do everything they can to support their entire community throughout this difficult period.