Dismay as Jewish Eton closes
The headmaster of Carmel College, which is Europe's only Jewish boarding school, wrote to parents of its 200 students on Friday to inform them that "the college will no longer operate after the end of this academic year".
Philip Skelker said the unexpected move was forced on governors by a rapid decline in numbers at the Oxfordshire-based school over recent years.
Dame Shirley Porter, the former leader of Westminster City Council, is one of the governors of the school which has produced many high-flying former pupils including the Conservative MP Spencer Batiste.
The college was the first in Britain to charge more than pounds 10,000 a year in fees and in 1990 it topped the list of the 20 most expensive boarding schools in the country.
Parents said they were furious to get such short notice of the closure and feared many children would have to retake a year because of the difficulty of finding schools offering equivalent GCSE and A-level courses.
Toby Tenenbaum, an 18-year-old pupil, said: "I was appointed head boy last Tuesday by the headmaster, and then on Saturday I got a letter saying that the school was to close at the end of next term.
"I am extremely upset by the news and am very worried about finding a new place to do my A-levels."
Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence, who teaches in the school's Jewish Studies department, said: "The news was extremely sudden and extremely shocking.
"Carmel was more than just a school. It was very much a community and a way of life."
Beverley Bond, whose son is in the school's lower sixth, said: "I'm furious. If we'd known at the beginning of the year, it would have been much easier to move our children before they started on their A-levels."
The school was founded in 1948 by a Rabbi, Dr Kopul Rosen. A large proportion of the school's pupils have their fees paid under the assisted place scheme.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...