Private schools are now taking out legal insurance for teachers, amid a rise in parents calling in top law firms when their children are in trouble. The Telegraph reports.
If a complaint to a housemaster or head of year about their child does not yield favourable results, wealthy parents are increasing turning to solicitors’ firms in an attempt to force the school’s hand.
This can be terrifying for teachers as any kind of allegation against them can damage their career even if it turns out to be false, according to John Roberts, founder of Edapt which provides legal cover for school staff.
Edapt launched in 2012 as a membership organisations for teachers who pay a monthly subscription and can access up to £100,000 of legal costs.
Two years ago it launched a new type of whole-school membership. “Now we have a number of schools – both independent schools and Multi Academy Trusts – taking out subscriptions for all their staff,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.
Michael Charles, chief executive of Sinclairs Law which specialises in education, said that there is now a “greater propensity” for parents to involve lawyers when they fall out with their child’s school.
Mr Charles said that parents are more conscious of their rights, but often misunderstand them so their attempts to pursue the school legally can be futile.
He said that one of the biggest causes of a fall out between parents and private schools is payment of fees, in particular, paying for the notice period when a child moves schools.
Parents sometimes get lawyers involved if their child is on the brink of being expelled and they want to come to an agreement with the school whereby they withdraw their child voluntarily.
This would mean that the child’s school record need not state that they were expelled, which could have an impact on future school, university or job applications.
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