ONE of the North East’s most historic schools has announced plans to close its boarding provision after bosses said it was no longer "financially viable" with just three students signed up from next summer.

Polam Hall School, in Darlington, went into consultation today over proposals to stop accepting boarders from the end of the current academic year in July 2020.

The school has 15 boarders this year, but 12 of those due to leave next July, leaving just three students using the service.

The boarding provision at the school was rated as Good following a social care inspection by Ofsted earlier this year, however several areas were highlighted to need improvement.

Inspectors said the arrangements for caring for boarding students who were unwell were "insufficient", and there were no healthcare facilities within the school for unwell boarding students.

They also said there were no systems in place to ensure all medication was safely accounted for, some medication was out of date and not all the medication charts were fully filled in.

Polam Hall’s boarding traditions date back to 1848 when it was founded by sisters Jane and Elizabeth Procter as a finishing school for girls in Number 11 Townhouse, in Houndgate. It later relocated to a picturesque 20-acre site on Grange Road.

Kate Reid, who took over as principal in September 2017 said: “It’s a sad decision to have to take but the reality is that the boarding provision is no longer financially viable, and we have to ensure our focus is on providing the best possible education for all pupils in our care.

“We are really proud of the progress being made at the school and we are committed to making sure that the momentum continues by accepting the need for change and making the best use of our resources.”

Pupils and parents were informed about the plans today and Mrs Reid said the school would work through the proposals individually with the affected children and their families to help them plan alternative arrangements.

In September 2015, Polam Hall moved to free school status and last year announced the closure of its sixth form after just 14 students signed up for the new term.