The closure of Howell’s School in Denbighshire was possibly avoidable had the school in place adequate insurance arrangements against employment claims.The school, which had a loss of £162,733 in its accounts filed in August 2012, had lost a case for unfair dismissal in which a teacher was awarded £38,000. The compensation is still unpaid. The finances are further complicated by another claim for unfair dismissal for a case lost in March this year against the former head teacher and his partner, who was head of PE and pastoral care in which compensation is still to be agreed.
Legal insurance is widely available to cover such disputes, paying both the legal costs to represent the employer, in this instance the school, and paying the awarded compensation to the ex-employees.The closure of the school that had been at the heart of the community for more than 150 years is a catastrophe, particularly for the pupils and parents who have very little time to find a new school before the new term in September. The closure will be even more difficult to accept by pupils and parents in knowing that had the school taking out appropriate legal insurance then some of the financial burden could have been removed, possibly leaving the school to serve the community for years to come.
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