220 year-old Ockbrook School to close at end of term after funding ran out

Published on: Tuesday, 8th June 2021
Mid-Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham

Ockbrook School, one of the oldest private schools in the UK, is to close after 220 years.  Trustees say that they tried everything to prevent having to close the school but were unable to find the money to save it.

Parents of pupils at the private school say they were shocked and stunned to receive a letter telling them the school was closing at the end of the 2021 Summer term.

Angela Sandland's 15-year old son is in year ten at Ockbrook - half way through his GCSEs.  She said: "I'm extremely proud of him, because I told him when I got up, we all received an e-mail which I read just before bed, before he went to sleep, but, he was really mature about it.  He said: "It's not ideal Mum, but we'll have to look at it as it could be quite exciting to have new horizons".  That was his exact words."

The teenager's mother said the timing could not have been any worse.  She said: "It's difficult enough changing schools, but half way through GCSEs is more difficult, because it's finding a school that will do the same subjects, and with a timetable that fits in around those subjects as well."

Ockbrook School opened in 1799 and is run by the London-based Moravian Church which says it's been unable to find backers willing to take on the scale of the schools losses which have come partly due to the pandemic.  The school is now insolvent.  Staff were called to a meeting on Monday afternoon to be told that they were out of a job.

Trustees, who have been looking at the financial situation since March last year, said that the decision to close had not been taken lightly.  They took questions from parents during a webinar that was held on Tuesday evening, meanwhile mid-Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham said that, having already fielded a number of enquiries from concerned parents, she has written to the Education Secretary asking who will be taking responsibility for the GCSE and A level grades of pupils at the school.

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