£400,000 awarded to Surrey teacher in stress claim

Surrey County Council has expressed its disappointment following the High Court’s decision to award a former employee £400,000 in damages.

The court ruled that Erica Connor, former head of New Monument Primary School in Woking, suffered stress and depression after being hounded by a pair of Muslim school governors. The local authority was at fault for not intervening at an early stage to help her when the actions of the governors created low morale and stress for her and her colleagues.

However, the council claimed the level of support it offered the school and head teacher was justified.

A Surrey County Council spokesman said: “We are disappointed with the judge’s decision because we believe we went to great lengths to ensure that the correct support, advice and guidance were put in place for Connor. We will now look at the judgement closely and consider our options.”

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) welcomed the result, and claimed that Surrey had failed to support Connor when she was under “intolerable pressures”.

“We are very pleased with this decision. It is a milestone in giving legal protection to teachers against stress which the judge recognised to be all too common in the profession,” a spokesman from the union said.

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