Weston private school announces closure as cost of living crisis bites

Headteacher Karen Wallington with business manger Adrian Gifford, together they have bought Ashbrook

Ashbrooke House & Pre-school has announced its closure partly due to the cost of living crisis. - Credit: Archant

A long-standing independent primary school in Weston has closed its doors amid falling pupil numbers.

Ashbrooke House and Pre-school, in Ellenborough Park North, will cease to operate this summer owing to the drop in numbers, which the school puts down to the cost of living crisis.

It will bring to an end almost seven decades of education at Ashbrooke, which was founded in 1953, originally as a boys preparatory school, with girls first admitted in the late 1960s.

Winners of Weston Junior Schools annual six-a-side competition, Ashbrooke House. Robert Jackson who

Ashbrooke House pupils after winning a football tournament in 1969. - Credit: Archant

In 1990, Ashbrooke House School expanded to take pupils from four to 11 years, and in more recent years from the age of three.

Headteacher and director, Karen Wallington, has spent close to three decades working at the school and said the decision to close was made "with a very heavy heart".

Mrs Wallington 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.

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"It is with a very heavy heart and enormous regret that I have had to make this heartbreaking decision."

Ashbrooke House school Christmas nativity play dress rehearsal at Clarence Park Baptist Church.

Ashbrooke House students rehearse the Christmas Nativity play. - Credit: Archant

A statement made by the school cites financial issues stemming from the pandemic and the following cost of living crisis as the primary reasons for the closure.

According to the school's website, termly fees are set at £2,600 for reception, year one and year two classes, while parents of pupils in years three to six pay £2,700 per term.

The statement from Ashbrooke House 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."

It is understood parents have been informed of the decision this week after the end of the summer term.