PARENTS have described the opening of the new Hammond Preparatory School in Chester yesterday as a ‘lifeline,’ following the closure of Merton House School in Abbots Park at the end of last summer term.
Paula Boyd, whose son Joshua, seven, joined the new school in form 3 said: “He was very happy to be going to school, to see familiar faces and teaching staff that he trusts and loves.”
Former Merton House headteacher Penny Davidson is head of the new school, which will cost parents £2,370 per term and is based at the Hoole Bank independent school’s Garden House. The remaining three teachers and three classroom assistants are all former Merton House staff.
Paula, of Upton, describes receiving news of the Merton House closure at the end of June as a shock.
“We knew that The Hammond School had originally expressed an interest in the Abbots Park site but everything was uncertain and we were all looking at alternative schools for our children.
“The Hammond opening this school on its own site has given us hope.”
Paula Salim, whose son Kamran is in Year 6 at the new school, added: “Merton House was an absolutely wonderful school. The teachers were excellent and truly committed and it was a terrible shock when it closed.
“The Hammond staff have worked really hard in such a short period of time to get the school ready in the interests of our children.
“We now have consistency. Nothing much has changed for Kamran and he was happy to go to school today.”
The new school has 31 pupils, about half the number attending Merton House although Hammond Principal Maggie Evans says the role could increase to 45.
She said: “I am keen to see this period of uncertainty come to an end. We have some parents who had moved their children from Mostyn House, which closed last year, to Merton House, only to see that close.
“We have always had a close relationship with Merton House, providing dance teaching and drama lessons.
“Pupils at the new school will now have access to all of the senior school’s facilities including our studios, theatre and restaurant.”
The Hammond School is holding an open morning on Saturday, October 1, from 10am-1pm. For more details call 01244 305350