THE Prime Minister’s former school is being forced to close its doors for good after coronavirus “changed everything”.

Ashdown House Preparatory School will shut at the end of this academic year despite exhaustive efforts to keep the 177-year-old institution alive.

The school, in Forest Row, currently has about 100 pupils aged between seven and 13 and boasts Boris Johnson as an alumni.

Costs range from £5,180 per term for Year 3 and 4 pupils to £9,560 per term for “boarding fees”.

Tom Beardmore-Gray, chief executive of The Cothill Trust of which Ashdown is a part, said: “It is with an incredibly heavy heart that the trustees have come to the decision.

The Argus:

“When the trust first welcomed Ashdown into our family of schools over a decade ago, trustees did so knowing that there were some very significant challenges that needed to be addressed.

“They were united, however, in the belief that everything that could be done to keep the school open, should be done. The harsh reality is that the impact of the coronavirus has changed everything.

“In recent years the trust has invested heavily in the school, and there has been a relentless drive to keep the school moving forward. Given the challenges the sector as a whole is now facing, it is not possible to maintain this support.”

Current pupils have been informed of the school’s planned closure and the trust said a programme of “support, guidance and consultation” had been put in place to support them, their families and school staff.

The Argus:

Mr Beardmore-Gray said: “Ashdown is a prestigious school, rich with heritage and tradition. There is no doubt that it will be sorely missed by many.

“We take some solace from the fact that, while the school is unable to continue, Ashdown’s impact will be felt for generations to come.

“The legacy of the school will live on through the talent and skills of our current and former pupils who are having a significant impact on so many areas of life.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. To donate visit