A historic Croydon school has announced its closure after over 130 years of education.

Christopher Houlding, Chair of the John Whitgift Foundation, shared a statement saying that he “desperately sorry” to be outlining the closure of the Old Palace of John Whitgift School in Croydon.

The school is planned to close in 2025, with some year groups (pre-school, reception, Year 7, Year 10 and Year 12) to close in August 2024.

In the statement, Christopher states that the school has “struggled financially for many years” as one of the reasons for the closure.

He goes on to say that other factors were the cost of living crisis, increased costs, a growth in expense for “necessary capital investment projects” and “anticipated demographic changes” which he claims have made it “impossible” to sustain the school beyond the short term.

On a broad, national context, he added that “upheaval in the independent sector” is leading to several school closures, forced sales or mergers.

Christopher said: “After a great deal of consideration – including exploring options such as a potential relocation and investing in a whole new school – the very regrettable position is that the Court of the Foundation has been left with no alternative but to announce its intention to close the school in August 2025.

“All the analysis and evidence suggest that the school’s finances will only deteriorate, making the sustainability of the school beyond the short term impossible. #

“However distressing this is for everyone involved, we believe it is the option which brings the most certainty and clarity to the situation, giving families up to two years’ notice so they can make other plans in as considered a way as possible.

“Our primary consideration is to ensure the impact on our students’ education is minimal and we will remain in close touch with parents over the coming weeks and months in order to do everything we can to support all those who make up our community.

“Existing close contact with other schools in the area means that a full and open discussion can be had with headteachers about availability of places at their schools.

“Meanwhile, we remain committed at Old Palace to providing a high-quality educational experience for our pupils until summer 2025.

“While I am desperately sorry to be the bearer of this news, I would nonetheless like to thank staff and students for all their commitment, support and achievements for our school over the years.”