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withholding school fees

(48 Posts)
chorltonloveswheelies Sat 28-May-16 22:20:13

DS is currently in year 6 at a local indi school.

We have become increasingly unhappy with his education over the last year and what is happening with the management of the school. So much so we also pulled DD out at Xmas.
They are both now/about to be at state Schools.

Many other parents feel similarly and about 2/3's of year 6 will be gone by July shock

Fees are payable termly but we haven't actually paid the bill yet as we haven't as yet received it (Bursar's office is shockingly lax).

I guess my question is where do we stand if we refuse to pay the bill once it does arrive? DS is leaving anyway and his new school already has info on him, so there is nothing to withold.

We have sent many letters of complaint to the Head and Chair of governors but nothing ever improves. We are even now paying for DS to see an external tutor as he has huge gaps in his maths and literacy.

What is the worst that could
Happen if we refuse to pay? Expel him? With only approx 5 weeks left of term
All he'd be missing is social activities!
(They don't do SATS, and to the
Best of my knowledge no other formal assessment is done hmm)

Alternatively we just keep schtum and
If a bill never arrives then so be it.

Not heard of anyone at the school being taken to court over fees. We're talking £3.5k so probably not worth their while.

To be clear DS has been at this
School since day 1 and we have always paid bills without question. I'm just so bloody angry now I don't feel the fee is justified.

Tiggeryoubastard Sat 28-May-16 22:21:51

You sent him there, of course you need to pay.

Coconutty Sat 28-May-16 22:24:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

navylily Sat 28-May-16 22:24:31

I think they'd most likely take you to court for the payment. You've presumably signed a contract?

Floralnomad Sat 28-May-16 22:24:56

They probably will take it to court , and quoting Judge Judy - you ate the sandwich so you pay the bill .

chorltonloveswheelies Sat 28-May-16 22:25:49

Ok... So we should shut up and put up? hmm

Not sure how that works in any other walk of life

ladygracie Sat 28-May-16 22:26:59

I work in an independent school & we would chase for fees as far as I know.

freshmint Sat 28-May-16 22:27:55

They do chase for fees. And they serve bankruptcy petitions as well. Pay the fees and move on

BeautifulMaudOHara Sat 28-May-16 22:27:57

You will have signed a contract, probably to give a terms notice

You should pay, they can take you to court and I'd think they'd do so

NewStartNewName Sat 28-May-16 22:28:05

If you were that unhappy you should have withdrawn him from the school, not took the service and expect to get it free!

NewStartNewName Sat 28-May-16 22:28:32

If you were that unhappy you should have withdrawn him from the school, not took the service and expect to get it free!

chorltonloveswheelies Sat 28-May-16 22:28:42

Good analogy Flora, but what if the sandwich is bad?

The school knows our strength of feeling; they've had plenty of time to address issue - they haven't. In the meantime DS' education has suffered and notice duly given.

SaveSomeSpendSome Sat 28-May-16 22:28:47

You should of pulled him out a year ago when you knew they werent doing the best for him.

Hes behind in his education because you continued to send him to a school that was failing and you have paid for the privilege!

You could not pay the bill and see if they take it any further.

LIZS Sat 28-May-16 22:29:08

Why did you not give rolling notice when you withdrew dd, or at Easter. Does it only go to 13+ or beyond? I suspect they will chase especially if finances are tight.

BeautifulMaudOHara Sat 28-May-16 22:30:33

You'd only have a leg to stand on if you followed their documented dispute process to the letter and had some kind of agreement not to pay. If you gave a terms notice you still need to pay that term,.

If your children were there then yes, you should pay.

Tbh everyone else leaving is irrelevant.

Floralnomad Sat 28-May-16 22:31:30

If the sandwich is bad you know after one bite so you send it back then , not complain when you've ate the lot - as others have said you should have dealt with the problem earlier / removed your son earlier .

chorltonloveswheelies Sat 28-May-16 22:33:20

We kept DS at the school because we were given assurances by the Head and governors that things would improve. However there has since been multiple turnover of the leadership team and sadly the children are caught in the fallout.

The school goes up to Yr 11.

Tiggeryoubastard Sat 28-May-16 22:34:45

You've also had entry of time to address the issue. You chose to keep him there despite removing your other child. I really don't understand how you can justify not paying for a service you've used.

annandale Sat 28-May-16 22:34:57

I would wait for them to chase, but would pay once they did.

IHeartTyrion Sat 28-May-16 22:35:43

You should have pulled him out earlier and not continued to use their services and THEN refuse to pay!

BloomingAzalea Sat 28-May-16 22:35:52

The school my children went to, always take debtors to court for the outstanding fees.
You will have to pay the fees or be taken to court. I don't think your problems with the school will wash with the judge to be honest. Sorry.
Presumably you paid a deposit when your child started at the school, therefore you could justifiably pay the outstanding terms fees minus the deposit IYSWIM.

chorltonloveswheelies Sat 28-May-16 22:37:23

Fair enough, appreciate everyone's thoughts.

NanaNina Sat 28-May-16 22:52:32

I think they would chase the fees but I think for £3.5K they would go through the Small Claims Court though I'm not sure how that works - whether a judge is involved or not.. Someone mentioned "petitioning bankruptcy" or something similar but this is unlikely to happen (the TV programmes about people owing money always seem to be officers from the High Court with a Writ from the High Court) Also I was reading recently that even when the Small Claims Court found in favour of the applicant (the school in this case) the debtor only paid up in around 60% of cases.

Having said all that, given that both your children are in the state system you will be saving a lot of money so could afford to pay this money that you owe.

BeautifulMaudOHara Sat 28-May-16 23:30:29

If they go to court and you have no legitimate dispute the court will enter judgement against you, which means you have to pay. That judgement will affect your credit rating so you'll probably want to avoid it getting anywhere near that far.

prh47bridge Sun 29-May-16 08:23:47

I'm not sure how that works - whether a judge is involved or not

Yes a judge is involved. It is less formal than normal hearings and people are encouraged to represent themselves. Unlike other courts the loser does not have to pay the winner's legal fees.

That judgement will affect your credit rating

Only if you don't pay the amount in full within one month.

chorlton - I agree with other posters that the school will probably take you to court if you does not pay. However, you may be able to argue that the poor quality of education provided amounts to a fundamental breach of contract allowing you to avoid paying the outstanding balance and even possibly to claim the cost of the external tutor from the school. The fact yourson is still at the school may undermine your position somewhat but it isn't necessarily fatal to your case. I would recommend consulting a solicitor who knows contract law.

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