PARENTS have spoken of their sadness at the closure of an independent school.

Hurworth House School, in Hurworth, near Darlington, will close next Wednesday at the end of the summer term.

The school announced in February that it planned to close the nursery and junior schools and open a new facility for senior boys at Polam Hall School, in Darlington.

It was proposed that the two schools would operate separate schools for boys and girls at secondary school level, and both sexes mixing at junior school and sixth form – a so-called diamond system.

However, Hurworth House said yesterday that the project had been cancelled because of insufficient senior boys being registered.

Headteacher Kerry Lee O’Rourke said: “This is a very sad day for Hurworth House School and for all the pupils, teachers, parents and everybody who has been part of the school since it was established in 1946.

“We have all tried so hard to keep the school open and we believed the diamond school with Polam was our best option.

“However, we have insufficient numbers registered for September.”

She said places had been arranged for all senior boys at Teesside High School, in Eaglescliffe.

Marie Green, the headteacher of Polam Hall School, said she regretted that Darlington would lose an “excellent independent school” and that the proposal to relocate the school to Darlington had fallen through. However, she said: “We remain committed to the diamond model and plan substantial investment in our school in the coming years.

“We have already started to take boys in the junior school and sixth form and we intend to offer as many boys as possible the opportunity to learn, using the diamond model, at secondary level.”

Parents collecting children at Hurworth House yesterday spoke of their devastation at the school’s closure.

Alison Johnston, from Northallerton, North Yorkshire, said: “It is very sad – it is a good school that has been around for a long time.”

Another parent said: “We are absolutely devastated – I think that is the feeling of us all.”

The school has about 130 pupils aged three to 16.