AN independent school is setting up a £1million hardship fund to make sure no students have to leave due to changing family circumstances caused by COVID-19.

Eugene du Toit is appealing to former students of Wellington School to donate to the fund, which will offer financial support to families hit by the pandemic.

In a widely circulated letter, Mr du Toit says: "With the support of the Old Wellingtonian Association, our goal is to raise £1million for the Wellington Hardship Fund.

"I understand that it is a difficult time to ask, but your support will play an invaluable role in ensuring that the School continues to provide an outstanding education to current and future pupils."

Mr du Toit said the school is in "good health", with applications for places for the acadmic year starting in September up 150 per cent, with the "children's academic and co-curricular achievements...remarkable".

He added: "The school has taken a number of steps to mitigate against the negative impact of COVID-19, but my request to you is direct and it is sincere: please help your school so that we can help our current and future pupils.

"Prospective and current parents face uncertainty and financial hardship as drastic action is taken to curtail the spread of the virus.

"This is an opportunity for the Wellington family of yesterday to help the Wellington family of today and tomorrow.

"Any help you are able to offer will make a huge difference. Our aim is to ensure that we do not lose a single pupil for the next academic year."

Sixth form students will be ringing former pupils next week as part of the drive to raise £1million.

Mr du Toit said: "Wellington is a school which gives hardworking families the opportunity to provide their children with an education which can truly alter the trajectory of their lives.

"Your contribution will ensure that we are able to offer support in these extraordinary times.

"COVID-19 is presenting us all with unprecedented challenges but, together, we can navigate whatever lies ahead of us and emerge as strong and united as ever."