"I have not got what I paid for" - UK father sues private school where son only passed one GCSE

Paying €32,600 a year in fees, Scott Craddock says the school failed to live up to his expectations for his son

"I have not got what I paid for" - UK father sues private school where son only passed one GCSE

[Chris Radburn / PA Archive/Press Association Images]

After his son only managed pass one GSCE, the first state examination taken by pupils in the British education system, a father is to sue the private school to which he sent his son at a cost of £28,000 (€32,600) a year. Scott Craddock made the decision to sue Abbotsholme School in Staffordshire after determining that it had failed to live up to the educational promises made upon the entry of his 17-year-old son David.

Craddock, 57, is a retired truck driver and says he took a job in the Middle East in order to provide his son with the best educational opportunities available. For five years, David Craddock attended the school, but left last year with only one passing grade in the GCSE cycle, a C in science.

To add support to his argument, Craddock says his son was not the only Abbotsholme pupil to score poorly in the state exams, pointing to schoolwide results being down in both the GCSE and A-Levels in 2015. The school’s headmaster Steve Fairclough has conceded that the results in Abbotsholme last year were “not as good” as in the past.

Abbotsholme School’s GCSE class of 2015 did perform worse that the UK national average, with 60% of the privately educated pupils receiving five grades between A Star and C. In 2015, the national average in Britain was 69%. In terms of top grades, only 8.2% of the school’s student scored an A Star or A grade, compared to 21.2% nationally.

“David was disheartened when he got his results,” Craddock said. “He said, ‘You spent all that money on my education and I walk away with one GCSE.’ I was always told my public school was a privilege – but I think he would have done better at a local comp. They have not provided what they promised in any shape or form.

“The teachers said he would come away with at least five GCSEs, but he had 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.”

Craddock served the school headmaster with the lawsuit papers while the school community was gathered in the grounds for its summer gathering. He also interrupted speeches made by Fairclough and the chairman of the board of governors to ask what they would do to resolve the issue.

“Public school should give you a leg up in life, but £125,000 [€145,300] is a lot of money and I have not got what I paid for,” Craddock said.

“I feel like I’ve been ripped off, they just don’t do what they say on the tin. I paid money for a public school education and I did not get a public school education. They are obliged to meet certain results and should be held accountable for not providing the standards they should be achieving.

“The money I spent could have paid for a house for him when he turns 18. I will be taking legal action to try and get this money reimbursed.”

The school is remaining tight-lipped on the lawsuit until it contractual dispute is resolved. The headmaster said: “Abbotsholme School prides itself on providing a balanced education and creating an environment where a passion for learning and continuous improvement is the norm for both pupils and staff.”

Fairclough added that the school teaches students to be “confident, resilient, and respectful of others and their abilities,” and that they leave with the ability “to adapt to life’s challenges both personally and in the workplace.”

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