Sussex school attended by Boris Johnson to close due to Covid-19

A Sussex school once attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to shut permanently as a result of the coronavirus.

Ashdown House prep school in Forest Row, East Sussex, will close at the end of this academic year.

The school’s trustees concluded that they could no longer provide a high standard of education due to financial challenges following the outbreak of Covid-19.

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Tom Beardmore-Gray, chief executive of The Cothill Trust of which Ashdown House is part of, said: “It is with an incredibly heavy heart that the Trustees have come to the decision that closing the school is the only remaining option.”

Ashdown House School in Forest Row. Picture: Peter Cripps

From September, the school is projected to be less than a third full, following a decline in the number of international boarders and fewer new and existing parents taking up their places for the next academic year.

Mr Beardmore-Gray confirmed that staff and the families of the school’s existing pupils have been informed, with the school now putting in place a comprehensive programme of support, guidance and consultation to help Ashdown’s community.

Local MP Nus Ghani said she was saddened to hear the news of the closure.

She said: “It is always sad to see a good local school close, especially one with such a long and rich local history.

“The challenges of managing Covid-19 has put a strain on a number of businesses including the private school sector and the closure of Ashdown House Preparatory School will have an added impact on uncertainty for local parents.”

Ashdown House was founded in 1843, and taught children from aged seven to 13, and charged fees of up to £9,500 a term.

The school was a feeder for prominent public schools such as Eton, also attended by Boris Johnson.

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