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Can’t afford school fees, does this sound ok?

(159 Posts)
Rightmovestalker Tue 07-Apr-20 00:09:45

Ds is year 11,GCSE year, going to state school in September for A levels. DH has a job but I now don't. The fees bill covers Easter - July and is £4.5k. My pay would have covered it but I’m not entitled to any state help.

We are overdrawn but have £3k available credit of our overdraft limit. We have another overdraft available for £1.5k. If we pay the fees now we will have no cash at all until 30th April when dh is paid and we have other bills to pay.

We are thinking of proposing that we pay £500 now and then chip away at it until it is cleared. Dh usually gets a bonus in July but it may not be paid this year. If it is we can clear it. Our other child went to the same school and we’ve spent c£160k in total with the school. This is the last year of fees. Does our proposal sound reasonable? Thanks.

YABU = borrow more to pay
YANBU = your proposal sounds ok

elephantoverthehill Tue 07-Apr-20 00:11:57

Just don't pay, your child is no longer at school.

Claireshh Tue 07-Apr-20 00:12:03

Absolutely fine. Our sons school are offering a reduction in fees and allowing the fees to be paid over an extended period. You should call the school to speak with someone. You won’t be the only parent in this situation.

ArriettyJones Tue 07-Apr-20 00:12:43

Can you offer £500 pcm so that it’s a fix d schedule and dip into overdraft later to meet instalments if needed?

I imagine the school would prefer fixed monthly payments to an ad hoc arrangement.

mochajoes Tue 07-Apr-20 00:13:43

I'm pretty sure the school will offer a payment plan, I presume they are still providing learning?

PersonaNonGarter Tue 07-Apr-20 00:13:47

Call the school. You might get better terms than you are suggesting here.

bridgetreilly Tue 07-Apr-20 00:15:17

Talk to the school, explain you've lost your job, ask what payment plan they can offer. Then, if you need to, negotiate. They have a vested interest in giving terms that you can manage, because they know that at this point, you could easily end up not paying at all.

elephantoverthehill Tue 07-Apr-20 00:15:56

So what is Right paying for?

Reginabambina Tue 07-Apr-20 00:16:47

Have you factored in your deposit? Definitely call them, I’m sure they’ll be happy to offer a payment plan.

Justajot Tue 07-Apr-20 00:19:53

Right is paying for the teachers to make the assessments that will decide her DS's GCSE results. A payment plan sounds like a good idea. Just stopping paying and never paying might jeopardise her DS's GCSE grades, so doesn't sound like a good idea.

Rightmovestalker Tue 07-Apr-20 00:21:32

I hadn’t considered the deposit, I think that might be £500. Teachers are still being paid and I want to support the school but realistically ds won’t be there ever again 😰 and isn’t being taught. Teachers will have to recommend GCSE grades. I think I will propose an initial payment and then a monthly repayment until it’s cleared.

elephantoverthehill Tue 07-Apr-20 00:23:24

Just stopping paying and never paying might jeopardise her DS's GCSE grades, so doesn't sound like a good idea. Because that is how professional teachers behave?

Covert20 Tue 07-Apr-20 00:24:32

Isn’t being taught? They’re in breach of contract then, and I’d suggest you don’t owe them a penny! I appreciate you don’t want to jeopardise his results though. We’re in pretty much the same position, but he IS being taught online, and I’ve got it saved (although we could now do with it to live on) so I will pay it. Have you made sure extras like lunch, coach fees, at least have come off?

EveryDayIsADuvetDay Tue 07-Apr-20 00:24:54

so you think will there be a term between Easter and Summer?

Do they have any form of bursary or hardship fund?

Pipandmum Tue 07-Apr-20 00:27:21

All you can do is call the school and discuss it with them. Our school is giving us a 25% discount for the summer term. They will do remote learning in a slightly tweaked schedule once Easter break is over and the school year has been extended by ten days in July. Do not know about y11 or upper sixth. All you can do is ask.

Rightmovestalker Tue 07-Apr-20 00:31:51

There will be online learning but it is mainly revision - nobody will do as no exams - and assessments to back up the GCSE marks. There is a force majeure clause which I just read but I don’t understand it!

returnofthecat Tue 07-Apr-20 00:34:41

I'd ask about whether they have any hardship funds before jumping straight to payment plans.

RedAndGreenPlaid Tue 07-Apr-20 00:35:57

elephant people sign contracts when they sign up for fee-paying schools. Part of those contracts says you may not use the deposit as part of final term's payment. It also says that exam results will be withheld until all outstanding monies are paid. It's nothing to do with the teachers! The bursar deals with fees.
OP email your bursar asap, and explain your loss of income, and ask what terms they can offer.

TheTeenageYears Tue 07-Apr-20 00:45:24

Write to the school Burser and explain your change in circumstances. At this point don’t make any offer to pay. Most independent schools anticipate this happening so are asking for all those that can pay as normal to do so which will also help to prop up those who can’t. Having paid such a huge amount to the school over the years I would think you are in a good position for them to waive fees for the final term. Depending on the response you could offer to pay some now and more at an unspecified point in the future once finances have settled for your family. Lots will depend on how rich the school is but you are far from the only person in your position and they sooner you write to them the better.

manicinsomniac Tue 07-Apr-20 00:51:07

The school I work in has appealed to any parents who can to waive their fee discount for this term so it can be put into a Covid-19 Hardship Fund to help parents who cannot pay all or any of the (not very heavily discounted at all) summer term fees. Apparently quite a lot have come forward to contribute.

Our bursar has also asked parents in difficulty to speak up as soon as they can so she can see what can be done.

There's no harm in presenting your situation and asking. There might be something similar available.

LonginesPrime Tue 07-Apr-20 01:19:06

There is a force majeure clause which I just read but I don’t understand it!

I doubt a force majeure clause would apply when the issue is that you've lost your job but the school is still providing teaching/assessment, but obviously it depends on what it actually says.

I don't think it's sensible to incur additional debt for this atm as you don't know what else you might need to pay out for (think private medical care if any health issues and NHS doesn't go back to normal, etc).

I agree that making a proposal to pay in instalments is a good starting point.

GlummyMcGlummerson Tue 07-Apr-20 03:19:28

My DC's school is offering a discount and discussing payment plans with parents - just speak to the school you won't be the only one in this position! Any school worth their salt will continue teaching too

MulberryPeony Tue 07-Apr-20 07:41:30

Write to the school. On every email we’ve had from our kids’ school since lockdown it has pleaded with any parents who cannot afford to pay or are worried to get in touch to see what they can sort out.

cologne4711 Tue 07-Apr-20 08:29:22

There is a force majeure clause which I just read but I don’t understand it! A force majeure clause means that you can't sue them for their inability to provide the services you are paying for.

What it doesn't mean, is that they can continue to charge you fees when they are not providing a service. I am surprised you have to pay full fees for the summer term in Y11 anyway, surely they only charge until May half term? But anyway, they are not providing meaningful learning so it's unreasonable for them to charge.

There was another thread where someone who was providing dance lessons online instead of in person wanted full fees. It's not equivalent and it shouldn't be charged at the same price.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Tue 07-Apr-20 08:34:04

Both my son’s schools are reducing the fees for next term. I would speak to the bursar they will almost certainly have some contingency plans in place.

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