A school in Surrey has announced that it is "likely" to close in two weeks after a "tough few years" of rising costs.
Belmont School in Dorking, Surrey said unless a rescue buyer can be found, the institute will be forced to shut its doors on December 15.
The private school said governors have faced a number of financial issues including "falling numbers of full fee-paying parents, higher interest rates and higher operating costs".
In 2019, the school decided to improve its estate and extend its age range but an eight-month delay on the completion "further depleted the school’s finances".
The private school said governors have faced a number of financial issues including 'falling numbers of full fee-paying parents, higher interest rates and higher operating costs'
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Chiefs added that over recent weeks the school has become embroiled in a dispute over final costs with the construction firm, which had resulted in a claim being taken to adjudication and subsequent litigation.
Chair of Governors, Andrew Baker said: "We know that this news will come as a shock to the Belmont community and we are devastated at the prospect of Belmont School closing after 143 years.
"Over the last 12 months, the Governors have been evaluating strategic options to try and secure a vibrant, long-term future for the School.
"We have explored several different avenues including remaining independent, merging with a bigger local school and seeking security with a new proprietor and these discussions were ongoing until last week.
"We have not given up hope, but in the meantime, we remain committed to supporting our pupils, parents and staff during this sad and difficult time."
The school first opened as a boys’ preparatory school in Blackheath, London in 1880 before moving to its current site in 1957.
Many parents have taken to social media following the "shocking and sad" news.
"I am so broken by this, the sadness I feel for the 3 kids I currently have at the school, plus the teachers and staff going through it with us, so so sad. I’m hopeful we can find a solution to keep this special school open," one parent said.
School chiefs said that over recent weeks the school has become embroiled in a dispute over final costs with a construction firm
Another said: "Shocking and sad news. Belmont has meant so much to me personally and my thoughts are with all my colleagues, and the parents and pupils who will be deeply affected by this."
A former teacher at the school added: "Absolutely devastated to hear the news. Sending so much love to all the wonderful children, parents and staff who made it such a special environment.