A Lee school has come under fire and been told they should be “ashamed of themselves” for not paying kitchen staff the London Living Wage.

Colfe’s Independent School was criticised by the trade union Unite for refusing to raise the staff wages ever since the living wage increased in November.

The London Living Wage was implemented at the school in September last year at £9.75 per hour, but did not rise further after the later increase in the living wage.

When Unite asked the school why it didn’t raise, a statement from the school said: “Colfe’s school does not have London Living Wage Foundation status but looks to the London Living Wage as guidance.”

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said “This is an appalling con trick. The simple fact is that you are only paying the London Living Wage if you are paying the up to date rate.

“The school should be completely and utterly ashamed of themselves. The fact that a school can publicly mislead the lowest paid staff really does mean they need to think about what kind of message it is sending out.

“It will be interesting to see what salary the school management team currently enjoy – and consider that along with their unwillingness to even pay £10.20 per hour.

“The leadership at the school need to recognise that that the staff who provide support services, such as those in the kitchen, are a vital part of the school.”

A spokesman for Colfe’s School said: “Colfe’s School is not an accredited London Living Wage employer although in September 2017 we did match our basic pay rate to the London Living Wage.

“Our salary awards are made annually in September and budgets are fixed accordingly. Although Brookwood staff are not directly employed by the school we have worked with Brookwood to ensure that they are equitably treated and will continue to do so.

“We anticipate that all staff will earn an hourly rate in excess of the current London Living Wage after the next pay award which will take effect in September 2018.”