Norfolk

Norfolk private school closes in Hethersett weeks before new term

Hethersett Old Hall School
Image caption The 111-pupil Hethersett Old Hall School has written to parents has written to parent to apologise

A private school has announced its closure just weeks before the new term was to begin.

The 111-pupil Hethersett Old Hall School, Norfolk, has written to parents to apologise.

In the letter, the headmaster Stephen Crump said the school was going into liquidation, but all creditors should be paid in full.

The school said it has not been able to "attract and retain enough pupils to remain financially viable".

An Independent Schools Inspectorate report in March 2019 revealed that the number of pupils had dropped to 111 compared to 160 in March 2017.

'Schools struggling'

It found that while the education quality standards were met, the welfare and safeguarding standards and the leadership standards were not.

The school, which moved to its current site in 1938, charges £5,210 a year for day pupils and £9,760 a year for boarders.

Ed Dorrell, head of content at the Times Educational Supplement, said many private schools were facing difficult times.

"These schools are normally small with very large over-heads. The margins are tiny. They often struggle just to stay afloat," he said.

Image caption Ed Dorrell, head of content at the Times Educational Supplement, said many private schools were facing difficult times

Mr Crump said the school was in a financially difficult position due to the drop in pupil numbers.

In his letter to parents he said: "We are exceedingly sorry that we are notifying you at such a late stage.

"We very much appreciate that the timing of this announcement may create problems for some of you in finding a place for your children at such short notice."

The girls' school was planning to go fully co-ed from this term.

It is currently a day school for girls, aged three to 18 and for boys, aged three to 11.

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