Sad news as parents say an emotional farewell to Francis House: School’s out... forever...?

Francis House students with teddy bears that they were given on their last day
Francis House students with teddy bears that they were given on their last day

Parents, pupils and staff at Tring’s Francis House School faced an emotional last day before the summer holidays today after being told it may never reopen.

The announcement that it was to close its doors in December came just weeks ago after the news was leaked to the Gazette by the mother of a student.

Before that Francis House had been accepting new pupils up until Easter.

But a note on the school’s website now says that it may close earlier than that if all of its current pupils can gain places elsewhere before then.

It says: “It is with huge disappointment and sadness that we have to advise you that the school is to close its doors permanently.”

Since the announcement was made at the end of June, staff have done everything that they could to take the sting out of the situation.

Many wonderful events have taken place at the school in the wind down to the end of term.

From the fabulous whole school production What a Knight to Friday’s annual prize giving evening, they have been a resounding reminder of what makes the school so special.

Pupils in Year 6 delivered personal tributes to each staff member at the prize giving evening and former headteacher of the school Lesley Waite presented the awards.

It was an evening of fun and entertainment but tinged with a deep felt sadness that this was to be the last of such events.

Christabel Boersma, whose daughter only joined Francis House at Easter, said: “Since joining the school we have been made to feel nothing but welcome by staff and parents here.

“The support from other parents since the closure was announced has been amazing and we have come to realise in a very short space of time that we have been welcomed into a tight-knit community.

“The strong community feeling engendered at Francis House will be sorely missed by all those closely involved with the school but also by the wider community.”

Parent fundraising group the Friends of Francis House has been totally committed to ensuring each child has a fitting reminder of their time at the school.

Among many thoughtful mementos, each child was sent home on the last day with a beautiful teddy bear dressed in a Francis House school tie.

Speaking today, Francis House parent Lisa Thompson said: “The past few weeks have been difficult in many ways, but today brought home the final reality of the situation.

“I would just like to wish all of those personally connected to the school all the very best for their futures. We will miss you Francis House.”