Over 40 Former Pupils Bring Sexual Abuse Claim Against Formby High School Teacher

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Kate Hall

Solicitor Graduate, Abuse

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Over 40 former pupils of Formby High School in Merseyside are claiming to have been sexually abused by their former teacher, Ian Farquharson, who took his own life in 1992. The pupils are bringing a lawsuit against Sefton Council. We commend the survivors for coming forward against the horrific abuse they suffered and hope that they are able to achieve the justice they deserve.

Ian Farquharson, who was the head of the lower school at the time, was first charged with inciting young boys to commit acts of gross indecency in 1980. He was cleared of this charge by Crosby Magistrates’ Court and was permitted to carry on teaching after claiming the boys had “tried to get him into trouble” after he had to discipline them.

However, in 1992 he received a complaint from the mother of a child. The same day, he drove to an isolated spot in North Wales and took his own life.

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More Survivors

In March 2022, six more survivors of Farquharson’s sexual abuse came forward about their experiences. They had seen a Facebook video by child abuse survivor and bodybuilder Aarron Lambo.

The impact of abuse on children cannot be understated as it often has lasting effects on a person throughout their life, regardless of the type of abuse or the length of time it took place for. One of the survivors bringing legal action against Sefton Council has bravely shared his experience, describing how he had been groomed and severely sexually assaulted by Farquharson for months. The trauma of these experiences led the survivor to experience many years of poor mental health and even serious suicide attempts. He said:

“To start with I just didn't really understand it. It was after I hit puberty, and when I was around 16 or 17, I started acting out, going out drinking.”

"When I got a bit older I started hurting myself, I cut my wrists, I cut myself with Stanley knives. I have got scars all up my arms and chest. Everybody knew about it. I tried to kill myself."

Thankfully, he eventually felt able to tell his parents about his experience who informed the school, which lead to Farquharson takinghis own life. Some of the other reports from former pupils who experienced abuse at the hands of Farquharson describe how he would ply his students with lemonade after school hours and encouraged them to commit sexual acts while he spied on them through a keyhole.

Former Pupils Take Group Action Against Sefton Council

The number of people claiming to have been sexually abused by Farquharson has now grown to 41.

It appears there could be more witnesses and survivors out there, as investigations show that Farquharson was abusing pupils at school for over 15 years.

In our expert Abuse Law team’s experience, it has been possible for individuals and groups of people to make sexual abuse claims against local authorities and councils, even if the alleged sexual abuser has passed away. We commend the brave actions of the former Formby High School pupils and we hope that they are able to receive the support and justice that they deserve after their experiences.

Making a Claim for Sexual Abuse at School

If you believe that you experienced sexual abuse while you were at school, we know that the first step can often be the  most difficult. In the first instance, we would encourage you to report the matter to the police, who will offer you support and guidance throughout the process.

Coming to terms with your abuse and speaking about it can be an extremely difficult and emotionally distressing time but can help you to achieve a sense of closure. If you would like to make a sexual abuse claim for compensation, our specialist Abuse Law Solicitors are here to listen confidentially, with no obligation for you to go forward with a claim.

If you do decide to proceed, we will talk you through every part of the process and support you along the way. It’s important that you are compensated for the suffering that you experienced as well as taking care of your future, and it is possible for you to obtain compensation for the cost of any future treatment that you need.

Sometimes, organisations set up dedicated redress schemes to help to compensate survivors if many people have made abuse claims against one individual or school. We will talk you through your options and the best course of action, and let you know whether you could have a chance of making a claim. We are here to help you get a sense of closure and aim to ensure that this does not happen to anyone else.

We are hopeful that the spotlight on such issues encourages reflection on the importance of stringent child protection measures and the need for transparent investigations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all students.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, our team can be contacted on 0808 239 1287. Alternatively, you can request a call back. We’re here to listen. The following organisations may also be able to provide you with some help and support:

  • Support for Survivors – can be contacted on 0115 962 2722 or by email at [email protected]. Further information can be found on their website at supportforsurvivors.org
  • The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) – can be contacted by telephone on 0808 801 0331 or by email at [email protected]. Further resources are available on their website at napac.org.uk


Support for Survivors. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://supportforsurvivors.org/ (Accessed December 12, 2023)

National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://napac.org.uk/ (Accessed December 12, 2023)

Liverpool Echo. (2023, April 28). ['Paedophile' allowed to teach for 12 years after sex offences charges]. Retrieved from https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/paedophile-allowed-teach-12-years-23871914 (Accessed December 11, 2023).

Liverpool Echo. (2023, September 15). [Over 40 former pupils claim to have been sexually abused by teacher at Formby school]. Retrieved from https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/over-40-former-pupils-claim-26030344 (Accessed December 11, 2023).

Manchester Evening News. (2019). [Damages payout for ex-pupils after abuse claims against headmaster]. Retrieved from https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/john-mulligan-st-annes-ancoats-15659576 (Accessed December 11, 2023).

Simpson Millar Solicitors. (2022). Redress Schemes Explained by Abuse Solicitors. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/abuse-claims-solicitors/redress-schemes-for-victims-of-abuse/redress-schemes-explained-by-abuse-solicitors/ (Accessed December 11, 2023).

Simpson Millar Solicitors. (2021). How to Report Being Abused to the Police. Retrieved from https://www.simpsonmillar.co.uk/abuse-claims-solicitors/how-to-report-being-abused-to-the-police/ (Accessed December 11, 2023).

Kate Hall

Solicitor Graduate, Abuse

Areas of Expertise:
Abuse Claims

Kate works as a Solicitor Graduate Apprentice in our Abuse Claims Department, with a goal to qualify as a Solicitor in 2024.

After completing her education at Leeds Beckett University in 2018, Kate decided to specialise in Abuse Claims. Within this department, she has gained experience dealing with Civil Claims against various institutions including local authorities, public schools, religious institutions and charitable organisations. This includes the Manchester Homes 2 Group Action and the claims against Manchester City Council for abuse at St Anne’s School. Kate has also successfully navigated claims through the Lambeth and Manchester City Redress Schemes.

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