Join the online forum
Join the
online forum
Like our facebook page
Like our
Facebook page
Contact your MP
your MP
Place this poster at your local library
Place this poster at your local library
Take Action Now
Manifesto Help Me
Back to Latest News
March 30th, 2024

Rookwood School lose £20,000 in legal defeat to Fathers4Justice founder

Fathers4Justice founder Matt O’Connor has successfully defended a case brought against him by Rookwood School Trust Limited.

Rookwood sought around £20,000 in school fees and legal costs, and claimed O’Connor had breached a contract he signed for his youngest son Archie O’Connor to start there in 2019.

The case was heard in Salisbury Law Courts on Tuesday 26th March by District Judge Bloom-Davis.
This followed a previous award of £1,500 to O’Connor for legal costs due to the conduct of the Trust in earlier proceedings, which stretched back to 2021.

But the Judge determined than the Trust could not provide a copy of the contract or signed acceptance form, which ought to have been contained in the child’s file, and agreed with Mr O’Connor that he had not been sent a contract, or signed a contract.

Under cross-examination, Rookwood’s head, Mr Kirk-Burgess, admitted there was poor record keeping and administration, that confidential folders for children were not secure, and that a former bursar had shredded children’s files and other documents. 

The court accepted the only form O’Connor had signed was an application form for day-boarding for Archie in March 2019, but the court heard Archie refused to attend day-boarding, and did not start as a day pupil until September 2019.

Under further questioning, Kirk-Burgess claimed he was still the Headmaster at Rookwood School, but admitted he was working his notice. This contradicted the school web site which listed Mrs J Jellard as the acting head.

Giving evidence, O’Connor explained to the Judge that his son was removed from Rookwood following a series of incidents, including Kirk-Burgess maliciously reporting O’Connor to Social Services, and an attempt to remove Archie from his fathers care an hour before the start of his mock exams in November 2021.

O’Connor said Kirk-Burgess waged a personal vendetta against him following complaints he made about the school and his sons treatment in the local press

This caused Archie considerable distress and emotional harm at the time of his mock exams, which is why he was removed from the school.

The Judge found that O’Connor was honest and motivated more out of a desire to educate his son, than to avoid paying school fees, and he successfully home schooled Archie with professional tutors following his removal from Rookwood.

In his judgment, Bloom-Davis dismissed the claim by Rookwood School Trust Limited. The school lost around £20,000 in school fees and legal costs.

Mr O’Connor said in a statement following the judgment; “This was a misguided case doomed to fail, driven by a headteacher who allowed his emotions to cloud his professional judgment. He not only failed to act in my sons best interests, but lost the Trust £10,000 in legal fees, plus a further £10,000 in lost school fees.”

“My legal team will be making for formal complaint about the conduct of Kirk-Burgess and the Trust with the Charities Commission.”

“Despite this, I would also like to recognise the good staff at Rookwood who did their best for Archie, and I wish the school the best for the future under new management.”

Archie O’Connor is considering a claim against Mr Kirk-Burgess and Rookwood School Trust Limited for breach of their duty of care to him as a pupil, causing him alarm and emotional distress through a course of conduct they knew would cause significant disruption at a critical point in his education and private life.

Anthony Kirk-Burgess

Back to top

Show your support