'Heartbroken': 114-year-old school closure announced
- Credit: Frankie Lister-Fell
An 114-year-old pre-prep school in Golders Green will close this summer due to a "significant decline in pupil numbers", while its owner is opening a new day nursery a few doors down.
Golders Hill School, at 678-680 Finchley Road, which teaches children aged one to seven, is described as a "local institution" by parents, who have been told it will close in July.
Miriam Brackenboro, head of the school's parent-teacher association, said: "People are quite fond of it. Parents who've been there themselves then send their kids there, that's how long standing it is."
She praised the "amazing" teachers, who have also taught there for many years.
In April 2021, parents were sent a letter from the school's owner, Katsutoshi Maeda, which announced his plans to open a new day nursery at the school's previous site. It said the new facility for six months to three-year-olds would be opening in mid-2022 at 666 Finchley Road to "complement Golders Hill School and the care that they already provide".
Miriam said: "Everyone assumed that they were just going to run the two things side by side."
Parents were shocked to read a letter from the owner on April 6 that stated the school will close in July. The announcement did not mention the new day nursery, and parents have not heard anything further since last April.
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One parent, who asked not to be named, told the Ham&High: "The parents are so upset. We're all heartbroken because we had no consultation whatsoever.
"There's been no attempt to keep the school going at all. And we feel really bad for the teachers."
Golders Hill School declined to comment and has not confirmed how many staff are being made redundant.
Miriam, who has had a child at the school since 2017, said she is annoyed that the owner has not spoken to the parents directly.
"They haven't done marketing for many, many years," Miriam said.
Plans to open the new nursery seem to be unaffected by the school's "decline" in pupils.
The website and Instagram page for Golders Hill Day Nursery have been active, with a blog post on its ethos uploaded on April 21.
Mr Maeda is also director of other educational facilities: Eikoku Maeda Gakuen, a Japanese nursery in Finchley, Brighton Language College and the International Sports Academy.
The owner, the school and the day nursery were all contacted for comment.