Head forced to quit by stress wins £400,000 payout

Council to pay negligence claim after breakdown forced teacher to quit
A primary school headteacher was awarded more than £400,000 in damages yesterday after suffering a nervous breakdown which forced her to give up her job.

Erica Connor, aged 57, was awarded the compensation against Surrey County Council for negligence in protecting her, following a campaign against her by governors during which she was accused of racism and Islamophobia. The payout is thought to be one of the biggest ever awarded to a headteacher.

Deputy High Court Judge John Leighton ruled she had been given insufficient support by the council after it became clear that she was suffering mental health problems.

Mrs Connor was head of New Monument primary school in Woking, Surrey, for seven years up until 2005 – and oversaw a big improvement in the school’s national curriculum test results for 11-year-olds in her first few years. The school serves a multi-ethnic community.