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School loses fight for survival after failing to find emergency funding

PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 February 2019 | UPDATED: 10:29 07 February 2019

St Nicholas House Prep School, North Walsham. The company behind the school has gone into liquidation after the school closed in December. Picture: ARCHANT

St Nicholas House Prep School, North Walsham. The company behind the school has gone into liquidation after the school closed in December. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant Norfolk 2014

A north Norfolk school has lost its battle for survival after running into financial difficulties.

Parents of pupils at St Nicholas House Prep School in North Walsham said they were “deeply saddened” to hear the news that it could close without a “significant investment” to help keep it running.

But its push for funding was unsuccessful and the school closed its doors at the end of the autumn term in December.

On Tuesday a notice appeared on public record site The Gazette to say the company behind the school, St Nicholas House Prep School Limited, had gone into liquidation.

Insolvency practitioners from Price Bailey were appointed on January 28 to manage the voluntary liquidation.

The school’s directors are Andrew Dewing, of agricultural firm Dewing Grain, and his wife Tessa, director of a model and casting company in Norwich.

In November, they said the school’s losses could “no longer be supported”, with fees and pupil numbers too low to support its costs.

The school recorded a loss of £157,000 for 2017 with a similar figure expected for 2018.

In a statement before the school’s closure, Mr and Mrs Dewing said all involved were “devastated” at the situation.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the parents for their encouragement, the staff for all their hard work, care and commitment and everybody involved with St Nicks for their unwavering support.

“From the bottom of our hearts we wish all of you the very best for the future,” they said.

Parents Geoff and Mandy Beck said they were “deeply saddened” by the news.

“The dedication of the staff has enabled our children to thrive and we will be terribly saddened to lose the St Nicks community we have had the pleasure of being part of.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff for their commitment and dedication towards our children’s education and to the shareholders for supporting it financially for so long,” they said.

The school in Yarmouth Road was subject to a buyout by parents in 2015, when it had 40 pupils.

It is understood that another education provider is interested in taking on the site, pending approval from Ofsted.

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