Owners of Falcons school confirm closure and parents take legal action

Image above: Falcon’s pre-prep school

Legal action launched jointly by parents 

The owners of Falcons School in Chiswick confirmed their decision to shut down the pre-preparatory school at the end of this term.

The announcement was made on Thursday (26 October) following a consultation by Alpha Plus Group and Inspired Education, who cited declining enrolment numbers as the driving force behind their “difficult decision.”

The school, which is on Burnaby Gardens, is licensed to accommodate up to 180 pupils. The number of enrolled students had dwindled from 90 in 2021 to 62 when the closure plan was announced. The closure will result in the redundancy of 30 teachers and support staff.

At the beginning of this term, roughly sixty families still had boys attending the school. Now these families find themselves with only 30 working days to secure alternative schooling if they have not already done so.

A group of concerned parents is initiating legal action, arguing the school’s abrupt closure violates the requirement of providing a term’s notice. They were only informed of the closure on 7 September, the second day of the autumn term.

These parents also assert the consultation process offered no alternatives to closure and failed to consider options such as relocating to another site in Chiswick or admitting female students. Some parents suspect that the school owners aim to capitalise on the site’s value by selling it for housing development.

Multimillionaire owners “have refused to listen” say parents

A plea to keep the school open until the end of the academic year has garnered support from Brentford and Isleworth MP Ruth Cadbury. Ms. Cadbury submitted two written questions to the Secretary of State for Education regarding the issue.

She was informed that the Minister had received no representations from the Alpha Plus Group and had not assessed the ability of nearby local authorities to fulfil their statutory duty to provide schooling following the closure.

The parents have expressed their frustration with the management of both Alpha Plus and Inspired Education, an investment company that recently acquired the school group, which operates a chain of prestigious independent schools across London, including Wetherby, attended by Prince William and Prince Harry.

The parents released a joint statement saying:

“The actions of Inspired Education/Alpha Plus are motived by pure financial greed. The distress and upset that this process has caused pupils, parents and staff has been immense. To be given less than 30 days to try to find alternative provision will be near on impossible and will be deeply damaging to pupils’ wellbeing.

“The multimillionaire owners have refused to listen to any of our concerns and have dismissed options to keep the school open out of hand, it is shocking that they have also refused to meet parents.

“They are also in clear breach of their own contractual obligations, and we will now be taking legal action against the owners. Their actions shame the independent school sector and it is clear that there are inadequate protections to safeguard pupils in the sector from the worst excesses of corporate greed.

“We would say to anyone thinking of sending their child to an Alpha Plus/Inspired School, don’t. It is clear that people who run these companies are motivated purely by money, not the wellbeing or quality of education of children.”