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  • Writer's pictureCharlotte Denley

Swalcliffe Park School Facing Legal Action for Historic Abuse

A group of former Swalcliffe Park pupils are talking legal action against the school claiming they suffered sexual, physical and emotional abuse at the hands of staff and other students.

Andrew Grove and Company Solicitors, based in Cambridge, has issued a civil lawsuit against Swalcliffe Park in Banbury which is a non-maintained special boarding school for boys aged 11 to 19.

The group of ten former students allege they were abused by staff and, in some cases, other pupils, between 1975 and 2008. The school’s response to the claims is expected soon.

One of the alleged perpetrators is the former principal of Swalcliffe George Pettingale. Pettingale was employed at the school from 1952, remaining there for approximately 30 years. He died in December 2006.

Benjamin (not real name), who attended the school from 1975 until 1980, said his life has been blighted by the abuse he suffered as a child.

“My experiences at this school have haunted me,” explained Benjamin.

“I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety, and when I have felt at my lowest I have engaged in self harm and contemplated suicide.

“For many years I have had to carry this burden but now that my complaints are finally being listened to, I feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“If you are a former pupil of Swalcliffe who has any information to help my solicitors with their investigations then I would urge you to contact them as soon as you can.”

Andrew Grove and Company solicitor Katherine Yates added: “My clients are seeking significant compensation for the abuse they endured, and although we have already issued proceedings, we are still taking statements from witnesses and claimants as part of our ongoing investigations.

“For many survivors, talking about what happened to them as a child is incredibly difficult, but it can also be the first step on the road to recovery. We can’t erase the past, but we can help you seek the compensation you are entitled to. This money could help you build a better future and can be used to pay for counselling or training, for example.

“All claims are being funded by way of a No Win, No Fee agreement so financial concerns should not prevent anyone from making contact and bringing a claim.”

Katherine Yates can be contacted at Andrew Grove and Co Solicitors on 01223 367133 or 07810 224545 or by email at

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