Angry parents are set to sue the owner of Prince William and Harry’s former preparatory school after the sudden closure of another facility.
Parents in Chiswick were told on Thursday that Falcons Pre-Preparatory School will close its doors in December. It comes after the school owner revealed a consultation ahead of the closure on the second day of the new school year, claims The Telegraph.
The closyre was announced by Alpha Plus Group, which agreed to offload 17 schools – including Falcons – to Inspired Education Group. The sale is said to have completed this month, with some schools in the group set to remain open.
These include central London’s Wetherby Preparatory School, once attended by the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Sussex.
In a statement, Falcons’ parents said the decision to close the school was “motivated by pure financial greed”. As per The Telegraph, they said: “The distress and upset that this process has caused pupils, parents and staff has been immense.
“To be given less than 30 days to try to find alternative provision will be near impossible and will be deeply damaging to pupils’ wellbeing. The multimillionaire owners have refused to listen to any of our concerns and have dismissed options to keep the school open out of hand, it is shocking that they have also refused to meet parents.”
Parents said they intended to sue Inspired Education for “breach of contract”, claiming they should have been given a full term’s notice. It is also thought they will seek redress, including for distress.
Alpha Plus Group was chaired by Sir John Ritblat, the property investor who built the developer British Land. He resigned as a director earlier this month after the sale of the company to Inspired Education, according to Companies House.
Inspired Education is an international private school firm with a valuation believed to exceed £5 billion. In a letter to parents, former school owner Alpha Plus said children would be offered places at other schools in the group, reports The Telegraph.
Mark Hanley-Browne, senior adviser to Alpha Plus Group said: “The Board understands and appreciates that a number of parents in particular were keen for the School to remain open until the end of this academic year, or even beyond that…However, the Board has decided that the option of remaining open after Christmas will not be possible for a number of reasons, including the decreasing pupil numbers at the school, the forecasted staff numbers post-Christmas and the school’s financial situation.”
An Inspired spokesman said: “Alpha Plus Group started the consultation with Inspired inheriting the school a week before the end of that consultation, when many teachers and pupils had already left during the process.
“Sadly, the school now has less than 30 pupils across five year groups which means when combined with the low staff numbers the school is unable to provide educational services to the standards required and expected next term. Our priority is to ensure pupils and staff have a smooth transition to their next schools.”