Family’s victory in Sheffield school court battle

Helen & Chris MacPherson
Helen & Chris MacPherson
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A Sheffield couple have won a court battle against one of the city’s leading private schools - which was claiming £1,800 in unpaid fees.

Helen and Chris MacPherson sent their daughters Megan, now ten, and Hannah, nine, to Ashdell Preparatory School in Broomhill, paying £2,420 a term for both of the youngsters.

But the pair – who have a property development and letting business – ran into financial difficulties after the big economic crash struck in 2008.

The school gave them financial support and agreed that debts could be paid back later – but Helen said relations soured when Ashdell’s policies changed.

“They became very aggressive and wanted their money back straight away – if not they’d kick the girls out at the end of term,” said Helen, of Crosspool, Sheffield.

After a series of wrangles the MacPhersons took their daughters out of Ashdell and sent them instead to the Lydgate schools.

“Megan did well, she’d been bullied at Ashdell but Hannah was destroyed. She found it incredibly difficult,” Helen said.

The school sought to recover money it said the couple owed for the rest of the term after the girls had left, using debt collectors then opening legal proceedings.

But a court has now ruled in the family’s favour, saying the school had breached its previous financial agreement.

Chair of governors Ian Walker said the judge had found a lack of clarity in communications with the MacPhersons.