Private school announces sudden closure after fall in pupil roll

Lyndhurst House prep school was first established in 1952

Thursday, 21st July — By Harry Taylor

lyndhurst Image 2022-07-21 at 8.58.34 AM (2)

Lyndhurst House prep school in Lyndhurst Gardens

A HAMPSTEAD private school has closed suddenly because of a fall in pupil numbers, months after it was bought out by a large private school firm and a new headteacher announced.

Lyndhurst House prep school in Lyndhurst Gardens, which charged up to £7,985 per year, posted a message on its website saying that governors had made the “difficult decision” to shut.

The school for boys aged between four and 13 was taken over by the Duke’s Education company in March this year.

At the same time of the announcement, it was revealed that current headteacher Andrew Reid would be retiring and replaced by Nadia Ward, who had been deputy headteacher at another Duke’s school, Eaton House. Some staff are understood to have been shocked by the announcement last week.

Lyndhurst House had been founded in 1952.

In a statement, Duke’s Education said it had seen a “significant reduction in pupil numbers recently” and that offering them a place at nearby Hampstead schools owned by Duke’s, Devonshire House or Heathside School, would ensure they “continue to receive an outstanding education”.

Lyndhurst House was first established in 1952

Duke’s previously took over Heathside School – spread over several sites in the Hampstead area – in 2019 after inspectors found severe failings under its previous management.

In May it was announced that Duke’s, under the Heathside banner, would be taking over the Hampstead Activity Nursery premises in Christchurch church in Hampstead Square.

The nursery had been in the middle of renewing its lease, and only found out it would have to move when Heathside sent a letter to its parents about its expansion. Users of the nursery protested outside.


SEE ALSO ‘LAST AFFORDABLE NURSERY’ FORCED TO LEAVE BY CHURCH LANDLORDS


Lyndhurst House’s recent inspection by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) in 2019 praised it for providing “excellent” personal development for children and its academic achievements.

But there had been declining pupil numbers, and the New Journal understands that parents had become concerned about smaller and smaller class sizes and looked to move children to other nearby schools.

The pupil shortage problems mirror those seen in the state sector. Carlton primary school, which served generations of children from Queen’s Crescent, closed in 2021 due to falling pupil rolls.

St Aloysius in Somers Town also shut in 2020, with recent education reports showing that other primary schools in Camden are battling against falling numbers of children on their books. This in turn means less government funding on a per-pupil basis.

A spokesperson for Duke’s Education said: “The governors of Lyndhurst House school have taken the difficult decision to close the school. Lyndhurst House has seen a significant reduction in pupil numbers recently and it was decided that offering the boys a place at Devonshire or Heathside is the best option to ensure all the Lyndhurst pupils continue to receive an outstanding education.”

The spokesperson added: “We will also be supporting all the staff at Lyndhurst House to find potential roles within the Duke’s Education family. The Lyndhurst House building will become part of Devonshire House.”

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