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Accepting private school place we may later decline

(12 Posts)
mrscardigan Sat 15-Feb-14 10:14:35

Our DS has been accepted at an independent fee paying school. It's our insurance school in case we don't get our first choice of local state school.

The problem is that the deposit (£300) and the acceptance form (which they say is a legally binding contract) for the independent school have to be in the day before the LEA emails it's offers out to parents on the state school they have been allocated.

Now, while I fully understand we would lose our deposit if we accepted a place at the independent school one day and turned it down the next (if lucky enough to get our first choice of state school that is), but wording in their Terms and Conditions suggests we would have to pay the first term's fees. Am I reading this right?

Wording says : "The school agrees to limit the parent's liability to a full term's fees payable as a debt if less than a term's notice of cancellation has been given, or to the full amount of the Deposit if more than a term's notice has been given."

Or as we would be giving a full term's notice do we just lose our deposit?
It's getting so stressful as I'm sure so many of you are aware and my head's just spinning.
Thank you.

LIZS Sat 15-Feb-14 10:21:28

You'd usually only be liable for the fees if you failed to give a full term's notice.

Bowlersarm Sat 15-Feb-14 10:23:42

Yes agree that it's committing you a full term of fees.

Is the independent school oversubscribed? If it isn't, I might be tempted to delay paying the holding deposit.

mostlysinging Sat 15-Feb-14 10:29:09

If your DS wouldn't start until Sept 2014, a term's notice to say he won't be attending needs to be with the school either the day before the Easter holidays or on the first day of the summer term which you will be able to do. And if you give more than a term's notice it's just the deposit you are losing.

Personally, I would give the school a ring and speak to the admissions person and ask. You won't be the first person who has done this and I'm sure they are used to it.

mrscardigan Sat 15-Feb-14 11:36:01

Thank you for your replies.
Yes, reading it again I think it's just the deposit as long as I give a term's notice. So if I let them know on the 1st March, that will be more than a term's notice for a Sept 2014 entry, won't it?

But good idea to give the admissions person a call. There must be a lot of parents that do this.

Marmitelover55 Sat 15-Feb-14 11:45:04

This happened to us last year and we just lost the deposit as we gave notice before the start of the Easter holidays. Sounds like your situation is the same.

Celeriacacaca Sat 15-Feb-14 14:55:42

Don't forget it's not March 1st this year but March 3rd that state offers come out. First is a Saturday. No harm in asking for a period of grace ie 24 hours either.

tess73 Sat 15-Feb-14 15:42:31

Phone them and just say you won't know if you'll be accepting the place til the state school offers come out on x day.
They'll pretend to be shocked, say they have to speak to the head, then phone you back later and say ok.
That's what happened with Dd.
Give it a go, my friends who didn't were really fed up to have paid, I didn't even pay the deposit.

tess73 Sat 15-Feb-14 15:43:24

They know the day the state offers come out. It's a money spinner. Call their bluff, you have the place, you have nothing to lose.

craggyhollow Sat 15-Feb-14 18:34:13

Read the small print

Both indie schools I have used allow you to give notice up to four weeks from acceptance as long as you haven't started at the school

You lose deposit only

MarriedDadOneSonOneDaughter Sat 15-Feb-14 18:40:20

I read it as £300 if you cancel with more than a term's notice, which you would as Summer term is a whole term left before your start date..

PS - not to compete but our offer has a £2300 deposit and, yes, acceptance date before 3 March!

mrscardigan Sun 16-Feb-14 14:44:58

Thanks for all your replies.

We'll get offers via email after midnight on March 1st - yes, even though it is a Saturday!

That's because we made an online application. For those who didn't they'll get letters sent out on Monday 3rd, so won't even receive them till Tuesday 4th! Slightly unfair.

I understand the school will make a lot of money from parents like me who are hedging their bets. So we've resigned ourselves to losing the deposit in a way. We could always use the cheque "must have got lost in the post" scenario........

Fingers crossed for anyone waiting for offers x

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