2:40pm Thursday 7th June 2012
By Emma Streatfield
A PRESTIGIOUS private school is set to close after more than 100 years.
Norman Court Prep School’s governors have announced the historic school’s closure at the end of the summer term.
As previously reported, a last-ditch rescue bid was launched by parents at the 131-year-old school, but even that wasn’t enough to secure its long-term future.
In a statement, chairman of governors Elizabeth Prescott Decie said governors were supporting more than 90 teachers and staff searching for new employment and working to ensure that pupils got places at a suitable alternative school.
She said: “I cannot speak too highly of the headmaster, the staff and the parents in their unstinting efforts to save this wonderful school.
“We are all immensely proud of Norman Court and its many great achievements over the past 131 years.
“Those whose lives have been touched by Norman Court will attest to its exceptional educational record, its enormously happy children and its common room of talented staff.”
The independent school, in West Tytherley, which charges annual boarding fees close to £21,000, said that the economic climate had put “considerable pressure” on such schools.
It said that falling numbers and rising costs had made the past year particularly difficult and a substantial injection of funding had been needed.
The school caters for about 200 three- to 13-year-olds and is run by a board of governors and trustees.
Last month parents attended a crisis meeting to see if any could invest in the school after being told in a letter from governors that, without funding, closure in July was “inevitable”.
Tim Parker, who represents his family’s company Lukin Beneficiaries Ltd, the landlord company of the school buildings and its 50-acre grounds, told the Daily Echo at the time that he was still conducting negotiations with potential investors with “educational interests”.
However, Norman Court said that despite the parents’ committee raising hundreds of thousands of pounds, devising a business plan and exploring potential long-term investment and restructuring, it could not, in the short time available, save the school.
It said that the governors and Mr Parker had explored different possibilities to provide a long-term future for the school, but no deal could be secured.
The school’s last day will be July 7.
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