THE Hammond School is to close its associate dance programme.

Parents have received a letter announcing the closure of the scheme, which offers dance classes to talented children who do not attend the Hoole Bank School full time.

Weekend and after school classes in classical ballet, tap, modern and jazz, will end in July.

Principal Maggie Evans said: “The Hammond is undertaking a phase of growth which has resulted in increased demand on our studios.

“This demand has meant that we have needed to concentrate on The Hammond's core business as a Centre of Excellence.”

It is understood that the school plans to relocate boarders to the Hoole Bank site.

Three members of staff from the associate scheme plan to continue with classes from September to accommodate pupils affected by the closure.

Lynne Greatorex-Cooke, Cora Kendrick and Wendy Lockwood will launch North West Dance Studios although a venue has not yet been announced.

Lynne Greatorex-Cooke said: “We are waiting for confirmation on a number of venues in Chester and the surrounding areas.

“We are excited by the opportunity to grow and plan to offer some new and exciting styles, techniques and opportunities.”

Erica Cowley, mother of Kathryn, 13, who is working towards Grade 5 ballet and modern and silver jazz on the associate scheme said: “We are disappointed that the scheme is closing but we will stick with North West Dance Studios as we are very impressed with the teachers.

“I just hope that they find proper studios and not just village halls to hold the classes.

“Village halls are fine when you start out but dancers need proper studio facilities with barres and mirrors when they are working towards higher grades.”