A Montessori school in Garston is closing, the family which runs the school has confirmed.

High Elms Manor School, which is a Montessori Preparatory Day School for boys and girls, is shutting after around 30 years.

The O'Neill family say the financial impact of the pandemic has forced the closure of the school, which had the capacity to teach up to 100 pupils aged 2 to 11.

In a statement, sisters Liadain, Catrine, and Roisin told the Observer: "It is with heavy hearts that we have had to announce the closure of our school and the loss of our family home.

"Unfortunately due to the financial impact of Covid on our school and events business, we have been forced to sell.

"It has brought us all so much joy, including our late mother, to have provided such a nurturing. family orientated school.

"We have taught so many amazing children over the years. As a family we feel very privileged to have lived in such a beautiful home for 25 years and to have brought our children up here."

Watford Observer: Sisters Liadain, Roisin, Catrine and Ailise O'NeillSisters Liadain, Roisin, Catrine and Ailise O'Neill

The school has been based at High Elms Manor, formerly known as Garston Manor, since the early 1990s.

The educational facility was founded by Sheila O'Neill who served as principal at the school, firstly when it was based in Bushey and known as St Andrew's, and then at High Elms until her retirement in 2017.

Sheila passed away in September 2017 after she was diagnosed with cancer, but her daughters took on the running of the school, helping High Elms achieve accreditation in 2018 under the Montessori Evaluation and Accreditation Board (MEAB) scheme.

Watford Observer: Sheila O'Neill, the late founder of High Elms Manor SchoolSheila O'Neill, the late founder of High Elms Manor School

After the impact of the pandemic became apparent on the family's finances, the O'Neill's told the Observer they looked to relocate to a more financially viable building Kings Langley, but the move fell through at the "last minute".

The family are looking into the possibility of a forest school and other activities on the land they have retained at High Elms Manor.

Earlier this summer, the 14-bedroom Grade II listed High Elms Manor, which is owned by the O'Neill family, was put on the property market.

At the weekend, the school hosted a closing down sale with furniture and other school resources that are no longer needed available to buy. Further sales will be taking place. Details can be found on High Elms Manor School's Facebook page.