Former pupils take legal action against Banbury area school for alleged historical sexual, physical and emotional abuse
The case relates to incidents alleged to have happened at Swalcliffe Park School between 1975 – 2008.
This week the school said Ofsted has rated its safeguarding as ‘Outstanding’ in every inspection from 2011 to 2022 and has praised procedures in place and staff vigilance to ensure students’ safety.
The ten men were boarding pupils between 1975 – 2008 when, they allege, they suffered sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
Andrew Grove and Company Solicitors, based in Cambridge, has issued a civil lawsuit against Swalcliffe Park which is a non-maintained special boarding school for boys aged 11 - 19.
The school’s legal response to the claims is expected by the men’s solicitors soon.
One of the claimants, Benjamin (not his real name), who attended the school from 1975 until 1980, said his life has been blighted by the abuse he suffered as a child.
“My experiences at this school have haunted me,” he said.
“I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety and when I have felt at my lowest I have engaged in self harm and contemplated suicide.
“For many years I have had to carry this burden but now that my complaints are finally being listened to, I feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Andrew Grove and Company solicitor Katherine Yates, who is acting for the former pupils, said: “My clients are seeking significant compensation for the abuse they endured and although we have already issued proceedings, we are still taking statements from witnesses and claimants as part of our ongoing investigations.
“For many survivors, talking about what happened to them as a child is incredibly difficult but it can also be the first step on the road to recovery.
“If you are a former pupil of Swalcliffe who has any information to help my solicitors with their investigations then I would urge you to contact them as soon as you can.
"We can’t erase the past but we can help you seek the compensation you are entitled to. This money could help you build a better future and can be used to pay for counselling or training, for example.
“All claims are being funded by way of a No Win, No Fee agreement so financial concerns should not prevent anyone from making contact and bringing a claim."
In a statement Swalcliffe Park School said: “We are hugely concerned that any child in the care of the school may have been harmed in any way. We have been aware of historic allegations dating back more than a decade and that pre-date the Senior Leadership Team’s management of the school. We continue to support anyone who has been affected.
“We consider safeguarding as paramount and embedded in our culture and philosophy and we have rigorous policies in place designed to create a safe and secure school environment. Ofsted has rated our safeguarding as ‘Outstanding’ in every inspection from 2011 to the latest in 2022 and they have included praise around the vigilance of staff and the procedures we have in place to ensure the safety of young people in our care.”
Katherine Yates can be contacted at Andrew Grove and Co Solicitors on 01223 367133 or via 07810 224545 or by email at [email protected]