A retired academic has called for an apology after she was forced to leave a pool she has been using for 20 years after being accused of a racial slur, a claim she denies.

Dr Kate Baker, who had previously taught in the modern languages department at Essex University, had a dispute with a mother who accused her of using racist language during an incident outside Colchester Royal Grammar School, a claim she denies.

When Dr Baker, 80, went on to use the swimming pool at the school, she was ordered to leave by a lifeguard, which, she said, left her feeling humiliated.

Now Dr Baker has said she is seeking an apology from the school as well as a donation to a charity which supports African children.

The incident occurred in June when Dr Baker and her husband were making their way to the school’s pool.

A child ran out in front of their car and an argument ensued between Dr Baker and the mother of the boy at a queue to the swimming pool entrance.

Dr Baker said: “The mother laughed at me as I approached the queue and I said to her what happened was no laughing matter.

She said ‘You can’t be a mother or grandmother if you don’t know how to discipline children’.”

Dr Baker said she then responded: “The trouble with you lot is you have no idea how to discipline your children,” before the mother accused her of using the term “coloured”.

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A complaint was made about Dr Baker and after she had started to use the pool she was ordered to leave.

“I hadn’t done a length before a lifeguard ordered me to the side of the pool, telling me I made a racial remark and had to get out at once,” she said.

“I was in the water and I felt vulnerable. I was accused of using outdated language, but language is my school – I taught it for decades.

“I don’t think of people as being white or black and I don’t use the word ‘coloured’.”

A spokesman for the school said: “Prior to the summer break, someone not immediately connected to our school was asked to leave our swimming pool following comments she was alleged to have made to a member of the public.

“The individual also spoke directly to our head teacher, where the appropriateness of the language used was discussed. The individual continued to repeat the same terminology.

 “An investigation was launched as the allegations included the individual concerned used terms and terminology that are outdated and racially offensive.

“A number of witnesses who were independent to the event were spoken to, and they supported the accuracy and validity of the allegations.

“As such, the individual was asked to refrain from using the facilities further.

"While we by no means want to cause this individual undue stress and anxiety, it is important all members of our community feel welcomed when using our facilities.

“Prior to a letter being received by the school on Monday, the school had not received any correspondence from this individual since July and we had assumed that the matter was now closed.

“We are also unsure as to why this individual is now asking the school to make a charitable donation as the result of the outcome of the investigation, but we will continue to try and engage with them to understand this further.”