Heathside Trial: Former Hampstead headteacher hit with £380,000 legal bill
- Credit: Polly Hancock
The former headteacher of Hampstead’s private Heathside School has been ordered to pay over £380,000 in damages and court costs.
Melissa Remus was ordered by a High Court judge to pay £164,687.45 to two families whose children were enrolled on GCSE courses, despite the school having no legal authorisation to teach GCSEs.
Heathside School has been under new management since 2019 and was not involved in the case.
A trial earlier this year heard that Mrs Remus “deceived” two families into believing their children would be in Year 10, but actually enrolled them in the £6,000-a-term school as Year 9 and then tried to hide them.
The school had been refused permission to teach GCSEs because its proposed curriculum was “inadequate and incomplete”, found Judge Peter Marquand.
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One child was hidden from inspectors during an Ofsted visit.
One of the children was awarded £25,000 for negligence, as the judge found the damage to his education had prevented him from taking A-levels and attending university.
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The judge awarded both children and their parents damages for distress, and ordered that both sets of parents be reimbursed for school fees and other associated educational costs.
Mrs Remus must make an additional payment on account of £218,600, to cover the families’ legal fees – with the final bill for costs still to be determined.
At present, her total bill stands at more than £383,000.
The lawsuit was filed against Mrs Remus and her since dissolved company Remus White Ltd, but as the company no longer exists, Judge Marquand ordered Mrs Remus to pay.
He refused her permission to appeal, saying there was “no real prospect of success”.
The sum was due by Monday, July 12.
Earlier this month, Mrs Remus told the Ham&High she had been unable to afford lawyers for the trial and that she had been “suffering from the severe effects of being hospitalised with Covid-19 shortly before the trial”.
This newspaper contacted Mrs Remus to ask whether she could afford to pay the amount ordered, but she did not respond.
She said earlier this month: “I am considering whether there is room for an appeal, so I cannot say any more now. Either way, I only wish these two young people well.”
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