Suffolk

Coronavirus: Bury St Edmunds preparatory school to close

Moreton Hall Prep School, Bury St Edmunds in 2005 Image copyright Geograph/Bob Jones
Image caption The co-ed boarding and day school will continue to teach pupils, who are aged four to 13, until the end of the summer

An independent school has folded after coronavirus "suddenly unravelled" plans to secure its future.

Moreton Hall Preparatory School in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, has 61 pupils aged four to 13 and said it would close in the summer.

It will continue to teach "remotely or in person" until then.

The school said the market for prep schools had become increasingly difficult over the past decade. At least 40 people will lose their jobs.

Its governors had been attempting to secure the school's long-term sustainability and attract more pupils but "coronavirus has suddenly unravelled all these plans", it said in a statement as first reported in the Bury Free Press.

They added: "Many parents now find themselves in difficult financial straits; overseas boarding will not become feasible again until at least 2021 to 2022; and we cannot draw on the usual annual income from summer camps.

"It is a perfect storm."

Grade II*-listed Moreton Hall has been a school for more than 70 years and a prep school since 1961, with a mix of day and boarding pupils.

Fees range from £3,000 a term for pre-prep, to almost £8,000 a term for boarding.

Headmistress Lorna Wakerell said she "could not be prouder of our incredible children" and wished "every one of our families joy with their onward school journeys".

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