The Rainbow Nursery School in Shottermill is set to close permanently at the end of the summer term on Friday, July 21.

The decision to close the nursery was made by the Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St Stephen’s Church, blaming financial pressures and difficulties in recruiting qualified staff.

In a statement, the PCC said: “Despite receiving financial support from the church and a grant from Surrey County Council in 2022, the Rainbow Nursery School has struggled to sustain itself in the current economic climate.”

The PCC acknowledged the closure of the nursery school will come as a blow to the community, “as the quality of education and care provided by the staff has been well-known and well-loved for years”.

But it said it decided to announce the closure of the nursery school now, to give parents and staff time to find alternative arrangements.

The PCC added: “In addition to financial difficulties, the Rainbow Nursery School has faced challenges in recruiting qualified staff.”

The manager of the Rainbow Nursery School, Kim Windebank, has also decided to step down after 19 years of service to the school and the community, and the PCC expressed its gratitude for her “leadership, care, and dedication”.

It also stated it would “review the situation, seek God’s guidance, and look for what we should do next”.

“As a church, we are still committed to ministry to all age groups and value the opportunity to care for our community,” the PCC statement said.

“We will take stock and see whether we are called to re-launch the nursery or to do something different, especially under the leadership of our new vicar of Shottermill, Rev Tim Radcliffe, who will be installed on June 15.”

The Rainbow Nursery School was first registered in 1997 and currently has 30 children on its register. It operates from a large room in St Stephen’s Church hall and is open five days a week during term time; from 9am to 3.30pm on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and 9am to 11.45am on Tuesday.

It has five members of staff, and the setting is in receipt of funding to provide free early years education sessions for children aged two, three and four.