Parents have been left ‘shocked’ after a village pre-school announced its closure in Buckinghamshire.

Maryland Pre-School at the St Leonard’s Church in Chesham Bois told parents it was closing its doors after 33 years in December, citing a funding deficit and facility issues. 

Parents received a letter from the Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St Leonard’s on July 19 - two days before the nursery was due to close for the summer holidays, a parent claimed.

The mum, who asked not to be named, said as a result her child will have to go back to Maryland in December, then to another nursery for two terms before starting school.

She said: “So that’s three settings for her in a year!

“I just feel the closure could have been timed for the end of an academic year.

“The staff at Maryland were only told last Tuesday so it'll be hard for them to find jobs as most teaching jobs have a September start and recruitment for this September would have been completed.

“Had we known earlier we would have chosen another setting. We even attended the transition day on July 4.

“The committee who run the nursery must have known about the closure, so it seems unethical that they accepted new children knowing the closure was imminent.”

Maryland was facing a deficit in excess of £23,000 and without “large investment and changes” to the building the nursery provision is “unviable,” a statement by Reverend and Rector Laurie Clow and churchwardens Alison Green and Samantha McEwen said.

The size of the current parish centre, which is earmarked for redevelopment with a pending planning application, doesn’t allow extension of the nursery, the statement said.

“The demand for the shape of provision offered is clearly not extensive: while it suits our present families, our numbers remain low and are not generating enough income at present.

The new Parish Centre plans include a purpose-built early years venue, they said. 

The staff have been “amazing and have contributed to the life of Chesham Bois community in a way that cannot be measured,” the statement said.

“This decision has been painful to make but the management and the trustees are convinced that making this decision now offers the opportunity to re-imagine this aspect of community life, laying foundations for the re-expansion of the work within the new building,” they added.

The PCC acknowledged it was a "tough time for pre-school provision" with many providers having closed "locally and nationally." 

In a letter sent to the parents seen by the Free Press, Rev’d Clow told parents the St Leonard’s PCC had hoped the current Parish Centre would be “well on the way being replaced by now.”

Now the parents have launched an online petition to try save the pre-school from closure. 

Maryland Pre-School was contacted for a comment.