Former Essex school launches abuse compensation scheme
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A scheme to compensate former pupils at an independent school in Colchester who suffered sexual, physical or emotional abuse at the hands of staff members has been set up.
The former owners of Oxley Parker School – the Eastern Counties Educational Trust – have launched the scheme, which went live on June 1.
The trust is expected to pay out millions of pounds in damages to former pupils.
The privately-run school, which was based in Mill Road in the town, catered for boys aged from 8-17 and was open between 1972 and 1998.
Andrew Grove and Co solicitors, a firm specialising in claims for historical child abuse, currently acts for more than 60 former pupils, who claimed they suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse while at the school.
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The firm said “extensive negotiations” have now concluded and it will be preparing applications for compensation under the scheme, which will be open for two years until May 31, 2020.
The Cambridge-based solicitors also said that while it considers many former pupils can be reasonably compensated under the proposed scheme, it will issue court proceedings for those who cannot.
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Katherine Yates, solicitor at Andrew Grove and Co, said: “While some of the former pupils we act for can be adequately compensated under the scheme, there are others where the amount is simply not enough to atone for the abuse they suffered at Oxley Parker School.
“Be it through the scheme or through litigation, this firm will seek to achieve a reasonable award of compensation for any former pupil of Oxley Parker that suffered abuse while a pupil there.”
Andrew Grove and Co said it was aware of one former staff member, Jonathan Bridgewater, who was convicted of numerous sexual offences against former pupils of the school in the early 1990s and sentenced to more than 10 years’ imprisonment.
The firm added that its investigations also involve other staff members of the school and they would be very interested to hear about anyone’s experiences there.
Solicitor Katherine Yates can be contacted at Andrew Grove and Co on 01223 367133.
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