Many is the parent who has decried expensive school fees as a waste of cash upon hearing of their children’s lackluster exam results.
However, one father is taking things a little further than merely chastising his child for lack of effort, and suing the private school for the £125,000 he paid in school fees for his son’s education after the child left the institution with just one lowly qualification, a grade ‘C’ in science GCSE, the most basic U.K. school-leaving exam.
According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Scott Craddock, 57, is now suing Abbotsholme School in Staffordshire, England, and demanding a refund, claiming it did not deliver on its promises with regard to his 17-year-old son, David.
The headmaster has admitted the school could do better, telling the paper: “In regard to last year’s results, we recognized at the time that our results were not as good as in previous years, and have taken a number of steps this year—and for future years—to reverse this situation.”
However, a furious Craddock told the Telegraph: “The teachers said he would come away with at least five GCSEs—but he has got one. He wasn’t the only one to underachieve, so the standard of teaching there is way below what one would expect from a public school education.”
No word on whether or not the boy’s homework and school reports will form part of the evidence.
There have been previous efforts in the U.K. to sue schools for poor exam results.
In 2011, Roger Webster sued £11,000-a-year Silcoates school after his son did poorly in exams.
In 2013, a book, Heads Up, about the challenges facing head teachers, claimed that headmasters were increasingly “facing litigation over teaching standards, pupils’ grades, and the attempted expulsion of troublemakers.” It detailed the case of two unnamed parents who sued a prestigious London school for £50,000, claiming teachers backtracked on a deal to give their children good references after they were withdrawn from the institution.
In another case, Kate Norfolk, who attended £4,000-per-term independent school Hurstpierpoint College, West Sussex, sued the school after she was predicted a grade A in Latin but came away with an E, after an inexperienced teacher failed to teach the correct syllabus.
Norfolk, who got excellent marks in her other A-levels—an A in history and a B in French—claimed the poor result in her third A-level affected her chances of working as a corporate lawyer.
The result of the legal action was never disclosed; however, the headmaster, Stephen Meek, admitted in a letter to a university that the teacher had not prepared the students properly.
The headmaster subsequently moved to Australia, and took up a role at Geelong Grammar school.