Sheffield school in swimming sessions eviction row

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NEWS: News.
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Parents are protesting at moves by a Sheffield school to axe the people who have run private swimming sessions in its pool for years.

Swimming lessons put on at the independent Mylnhurst RC Prep School in Ecclesall by the private Dolphinsstars Swimschool will end later this month and two jobs are expected to go.

Mylnhurst Sports Education and Leisure, which runs the pool, intends to set up its own Water Merlins Swim School in the new year.

Parents claim the decision has been taken without consultation and are angry the new venture simply aims to take over the existing company’s customer base.

Mum Helen Whysall said: “The school has underestimated the strength of feeling and loyalty parents feel towards the Dolphins – and our antipathy towards the school’s approach and its lack of moral judgement.

“This swimming school is not just about learning to swim – it is about people, about friendships formed, for both adults and children, about trust, loyalty and integrity.”

Mrs Whysall said the way the matter had been conducted had been ‘arrogant and insensitive’.

Sara Pegden, Swimschool company director, said their staff taught 1,000 children over six days every week.

She said: “Mylnhurst is not renewing our contact for 2015 and intend to teach lessons themselves, taking all our customers.

“We have built up this concern over seven years and although they own the pool we feel this action is very heavy-handed.

“They have used us for their own advantage and will be re-employing most of our 30 staff for themselves.

“It’s disgusting but there’s not much we can do.

“We asked if we could come to a new agreement or run swimming lessons together, but that proved to be a false hope.

“We were given three months’ notice, but parents only found out recently.

“It’s a very sly way of doing business – it’s not ethically or morally right.”

A letter to parents from the Mylnhurst company said the swimschool had been given more than the required three months’ notice, with the decision made in early September.

It says: “The pool was opened in 2008 to provide outstanding sports facilities for the local community and Mylnhurst School.

“Throughout that time we have provided and maintained an excellent swimming pool and supported a number of swimming businesses.

“Staff from Dolphinstars Swimschool Ltd have been invited to a meeting to discuss employment opportunities.”

The letter adds: “We sincerely hope the new arrangements will cause minimum disruption to the service you have enjoyed.”