A £5,000-a-year Hampshire independent school is to close down amid a “difficult economic climate”, the Daily Echo can reveal today.

Woodhill School in Chandler’s Ford will not reopen for the start of the academic year in September.

The parents of up to 60 pupils, aged three to 11, will instead be offered the chance to move their children to the school’s sister establishment at Brook Lane in Botley, where there are plans to expand.

Bosses say there will be job losses but have declined to say how many of the nine positions at the Chandler’s Ford base will have be axed.

Parents were informed of the decision to close the 40-year-old Brownhill Road site on Friday.

Head teacher Hamish McKeown said the move was made in a bid to ensure a future for the Woodhill School group but added that the “economic climate is difficult” for the independent school sector.

He told the Daily Echo: “It is to ensure the future prosperity of the school and to bring about a new chapter in its history.

“Logistically it will be difficult for some people, but we would like to take as many of the pupils as possible to our Botley school. The ethos is the same at the two sites – the staff are different but it is run in the same way.

“Looking ahead we want to ensure that the next 40 years are as productive educationally as the first 40 years.”

Mr McKeown added that all parents had been informed and that they had reacted “mostly with sadness”.

An Ofsted report in 2012 said parents paid £5,262-a-year for a child to be educated at the school.

Described as an Independent Preparatory Day School for boys and girls, its mission is to provide “a happy atmosphere in which pupils can thrive and feel successful; achieve academic success and receive a wide range of academic experiences and opportunities within the wider curriculum.”