Prep school's future 'under threat' because private bowling club in the grounds can see pupils getting changed

Telegraph reporters
bowling club carshalton beeches

A private prep school embroiled in a court battle with a bowling club has claimed members are able to see young female pupils getting changed from their clubhouse.

Parents of pupils at Seaton House School in Sutton, London, have complained that players at Carshalton Beeches Bowling Club can look through classroom windows during PE lessons.

While criticisms from parents have been received, the current headteacher, and her predecessor, said they had received no allegations of "sexual impropriety".

However, headteacher Ruth Darvill told Central London County Court that Sutton House's future was under threat after the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI), the private school equivalent of Ofsted, said the £10,000-a-year school was failing in its "safeguarding" duty.

The bowling club has existed on leased land within the school grounds for almost a century, having been established in 1929 - a year before the school itself was founded.

The school wants the bowling club out and is refusing to renew the lease on the clubhouse HQ, which it plans to demolish and rebuild as an outbuilding.

But the club is suing the school to force it to renew its lease.

In documents supporting its claim, the club explained it is applying to the court under the Landlord and Tenant Act for the grant of a new business tenancy.

Notice to terminate its current lease was served in August 2017, to take effect in April 2018, along with a message "stating that the school would oppose a claim to the court for a new tenancy".

The club says it is legally entitled to a new tenancy - partly because the school led it to believe it would be moving to a new pavilion on school grounds after the demolition of the Senior House Building, where it is currently based, and because it had spent money preparing for that move.

The hearing continues.