14/08/2014 16:54 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Private School Heads Fear Litigious Parents

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A new book claims that powerful 'alpha' parents are leaving private schools fearful of being sued.

The Telegraph says that 'rising numbers' of private schools are being threatened with legal action as 'alpha parents' seek maximum returns for their fees.

It quotes a new book, Heads Up, which details how pushy parents are becoming the bane of private school headteachers' lives.

Legal expert David Smellie, head of the schools group at the law firm Farrer & Co, and contributor to the book, told the Telegraph that parental disputes could be 'very emotionally draining' for headteachers.

He said that private school staff found themselves dealing with parent bodies full of 'alpha males and alpha females' who were very successful, and did not like 'not succeeding'.

"They particularly don't like it when it relates to their children; that really gets their goat. In those circumstances, when they've got financial resources, they can put the school to an enormous amount of aggravation," said Mr Smellie.

In the book, Mr Smellie said times had changed from when you could expel a child with no fears of appeal, but that nowadays 'for every 10 pupils you expel, you will probably get at least one solicitor's letter and two or three appeals'.

The book explained that schools sometimes choose to 'settle carefully' in the face of 'possibly protracted, expensive litigation' particularly when overseas billionaires and oligarchs with 'infinite resources' are involved.

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