A BOSCOMBE school will close at the end of the academic year, it has been announced.

The board of trustees at St Thomas Garnet’s Catholic Independent School in Bournemouth announced the closure yesterday.

As reported the school, which has operating from its current site in Parkwood Road since 1979, has been actively seeking a buyer or investor in the hope of securing its future.

However, despite what it called “an initial flurry of interest”, including that of an “action group” formed by some of the pupils’ parents, no suitable investor could be found.

In a statement, the board said: “This is an extremely sad day for our school.

“St Thomas Garnet’s School has been at the heart of the community for a number of years and was highly regarded by parents and pupils, with a very good reputation.

“Despite all our efforts to find a suitable investor to enable the school to continue, this proved to be too difficult at this particular and unprecedented time.”

The trustees said they had “explored all opportunities available (both locally and nationally) and also attempted to secure sufficient funding to implement a turnaround plan, but this level of funding was not available”.

Also, the board said, the financial uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic had complicated the sale of the school as an ongoing business.

As reported previously, the school has seen a reduction in pupil numbers in recent times, due to the increased competition from both local state and private schools.

The board has informed staff and parents of the news.

The school opened in 1979 and is run by an independent charitable trust. Its kindergarten opened in 1993.

Parents are scrabbling to find school places for their children from September.

Fees at the school ranged from £1,907 per term in Reception to £2,665 per term in Year 6, making them some of the cheapest independent school fees in the area.

Last month parent Cara Ashford, who has an eight-year-old daughter in Year 3, said: “All the schools in this area are full, which is why most of us put our children into private education in the first place."

As well as this, she added: “Most of the other private schools are a lot more expensive so many of the parents won’t be able to make that leap.”