Headmaster suspended

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A HEADTEACHER at an independent school in Northamptonshire has been suspended following a police investigation into allegations regarding the care of children at a former Stowmarket school.

Stephen Player, of Spratton Hall School, in Spratton, has been temporarily suspended after a compensation claim of more than £1 million was launched against Suffolk County Council by former pupils of the now closed Oakwood School for Boys.

Suffolk Police are investigating the allegations surrounding the care of pupils by staff at the former school. However, no arrests or formal charges have been made.

Fifty two former pupils are being represented by Cambridge-based Andrew Grove and Company Solicitors, which issued a formal ‘letter before action’ to the county council in June.

Their compensation claim is on hold until the police investigation is completed.

Andrew Grove, a partner in the firm, said: “We have given the police all of the details of our clients and they’ve been interviewing all of them one by one.”

Oakwood School, which opened in 1974, operated as a special school for boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The school was closed in December 1999 after concerns were raised about the health and safety of pupils and staff.

Mr Player was a teacher at the school.

A statement from Spratton Hall School said: “The headmaster was a member of staff at a school in Suffolk in the 1980s, which has become the subject of investigations into historic allegations made against many staff of the school by former pupils.

“Under the requirements of relevant authorities the headmaster has been temporarily suspended. He continues to have the fullest support of the governors.”

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said: “Inquiries are continuing. Officers are continuing to take statements from persons who have made complaints.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk County Council added: “We are co-operating fully with the police during this investigation.”