Teachers’ union seeks compensation deals after Oakfield School closure

A TOP teachers’ union is seeking compensation packages for sacked staff members following the sudden closure of Oakfield School in Pyrford.

The private institution in Coldharbour Road closed its doors on 96 years of history last week citing “financial difficulties” as the reason for the shock announcement.

In a letter addressed to parents school directors Leslie and Mary Tuckersaid: “We have made every effort to find other sources of financial support in order to avoid closing the school, however none of the options has proved successful.

“The staff as well as headteacher Susan Goddard were unaware of this situation.

“This is a very sad outcome for us all, for a school which has been trading for 96 years and has achieved an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted this year.”

Parents now face a desperate struggle to secure their children a place at an alternative school, while distraught staff members have been plunged into unemployment just four weeks before the start of the new term.

But the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, which represents more than 160,000 educators in the UK, has pledged to fight for redundancy packages for four members of staff who were told they would not receive their August salary.

Senior regional official for the south east, Allan Deacon, said: “This huge blow for staff, pupils and parents came without any warning after the end of the summer term.

“One of our members was travelling to the airport to go on holiday when she learned the shock news that the school had closed and she would be jobless in September.

“Staff were told that their July pay cheque was their last and, as well as having no job, they would not get their August salary.

“We are disappointed that the school has not consulted the staff about the closure, as it is legally required to do, or explored any alternatives to closure with them.

“ATL will now do all it can to make sure its members get any pay and redundancy payments to which they are entitled, including taking the school to an employment tribunal if necessary.”

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About the Author: Andy Fitzsimon