Suffolk

Amberfield School facing closure due to cash problems

Parents have begun a campaign to try to save a fee-paying Suffolk school which has announced it is to close at the end of October.

Amberfield School at Nacton will go into liquidation due to "unsustainable financial losses" and debts of £1m.

The school has 157 pupils, 32 teaching staff and 23 non-teaching staff.

Alistair Lang, chairman of governors, said: "This difficult economic climate has made it increasingly difficult to keep afloat."

Amberfield is an independent day school for girls aged 2-16 years and boys aged 2-7 years.

The school charges between £2,300 and £3,000 a term and the roll has dropped from 233 pupils in 2009.

'Horrible decision'

Mr Lang said: "We didn't recruit enough pupils in the summer and opened the school in September in good faith, but there is no good time to close the school.

"We've spent many hours trying to find investors, buyers, ways of extending the life of the school and it was a horrible decision to make."

Parents held a meeting to set up a campaign to save the school, whose former pupils include the artist Maggi Hambling.

Mark Brown, who has a daughter at Amberfield, said: "People had an idea that for many years the [pupil] numbers weren't that great, but the closing down was completely out of the blue.

"The parents have pledged a phenomenal amount of money, probably between £50,000 and £100,000 and, in the short term, we need £200,000 to get the bank off our back and, if we do that, we can keep it open until Christmas.

"If we had known this a month ago, it would have been considerably easier to raise those funds in time."

Linda Ingram, headmistress, said: "This really is a sad day for us.

"We are determined to do everything we can to ensure the transition of our pupils and our staff to new schools and jobs as quickly and easily as possible."

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