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Non refundable deposit for prep school

(21 Posts)
Karenwoody Mon 19-Jan-09 16:33:55


DS got a place at a prep school for September. They want a £500 non-refundable deposit right away to secure the place.

Problem is that I would like DS to have a go at another prep school, which I feel is better for him. Their assessment is not until February. So if he did manage to get a place at prep school No 2 I would have to lose the £500.

How do I go about asking prep school No 1 to wait until March for a decision from me? Will they even entertain the idea or will they be annoyed that I am considering another school? I wouldn't want it to affect how they treat DS if he did go there.


EldonAve Mon 19-Jan-09 16:35:35

Depends on competition for spaces but it's always worth asking

janinlondon Mon 19-Jan-09 16:38:15

More than likely they know where they stand in the heirarchy and so they offer and bill earlier than the more "desirable" schools. In London they do this all the time. In our area there are about eight prep schools and they (rather inconveniently) offer in a very precise order. No chance of delaying at our schools, as they have designed this deliberately and are oversubscribed. But you could always ask (maybe anonymously?).

RachePache Mon 19-Jan-09 16:51:07

We only put a deposit on the prep school that we really want DSs to go to - but we might relinquish it as we're reconsidering the need for private education. Depends how you'd feel if you didn't pay and lost the place, I suppose?

Gidleigh Mon 19-Jan-09 17:03:17

This is definately my bugbear! We are in the situation! The schools should set the same deadline as they will get whoever they will get ultimately without having the parents to shell out deposits which they will subsequently lose. The experience from friends on the schools in our area is that they are not flexible in their deadlines. I guess they view it as a source of extra funds.

pagwatch Mon 19-Jan-09 17:20:28

Of course they do it on purpose. But in fairness it is to stop parents going for five or six schools and faffing about until the last minute.

It goes with the territory I'm afraid.
If you are going for a very popular school you have to put up with it really.

scienceteacher Mon 19-Jan-09 17:32:41

Ask the school if you can have an extension for making your decision. They will either say yes or no.

Hulababy Mon 19-Jan-09 17:48:06

Ask them outright.

Whether thy will wait or not depends on the demand for places. If it is oversubscribed and with a waiting list with children ready to take your DS's place, then I suspect they will say no. They can afford to.

Otherwise you have to take your chance and hope a place remains available, or you lose the £500.

slummymomma Mon 19-Jan-09 18:19:56

I think it is highly unlikely that the prep school will let you wait. As others have pointed out the school knows exactly what it is doing by offering early. You're lucky it's only £500 - some of the pre-preps in London will ask for a full terms fees.

Annoying but a fact of life I'm afraid.

MrsGuyOfGisbourne Mon 19-Jan-09 18:59:49

As otehrs have said - this is the premium you pay for having the luxury of choosing grin. We have lost secveral deposits over the years for various school, but basically just amortise the cost over the lifetime of school fees and £500 is peanuts in the whole scheme of things

dilemma456 Mon 19-Jan-09 19:47:51

Message withdrawn

NewAmazingBeginning Mon 19-Jan-09 19:49:09

What would annoy you most - losing the money or the place? The money loss would only effect you and for a certain time. The losing place might effect your child and for longer.

seeker Mon 19-Jan-09 22:40:27

This is what happens when education is treated as a business.

SueW Mon 19-Jan-09 22:48:34

dilemma same round here. Everyone asks for decision by same date. although you have to accept more quickly to take up a scholarship place.

MollieO Mon 19-Jan-09 23:08:34

A school we looked at didn't have space for ds's intake. Wasn't interested anyway once we'd had the private tour with the head (incredibly pompous). They said we could put ds's name on the waiting list but it was 'extremely unlikely' he'd get a place. 11 months later and one month before term started they were ringing round people who would have been below us on the waiting list offering them places. So much for being in demand!

I would ask for an extension and be confident in getting it bearing in mind the current squeeze on private schools.

scrooged Mon 19-Jan-09 23:12:38

Just tell them you have not been paid yet. It worked for me (not london though)

mumoverseas Tue 20-Jan-09 05:45:35

It is really frustrating but I think you will find that they will insist on it or you will lose your offer of a place.
We had this a few months ago with my DS on applying for a place at private schools for A levels from next September.
The one he really wanted to go to offered him a place on 1st December to be accepted or declined by 10th December. The other two schools we were considering were not even offering interviews until after the deadline. After much thought we decided to accept the place on offer as it was a guaranteed place and at least we could forward plan (very important to us as we are overseas) and also, the other schools offers were conditional on GCSE results and therefore technically we wouldn't have a definite until the end of August.
We've had to part with £1,000 deposit which isn't even taken off the first terms fees but which is refunded when he leaves in July 2011. Frustrating when you think of all the interest the school is getting on all these deposits but what can you do?

dilemma456 Tue 20-Jan-09 20:33:08

Message withdrawn

Bar23 Wed 21-Jan-09 12:41:26

Think of it as being an insurance premium and consider if it is worth paying to "insure" against what would happen if DS doesn't get into prep school No2.

You could also look at prep No2 again and see whether it is worth the gamble.
DS and DD are going through prep/pre-prep systems and many schools have chance vacancies in between 7+ and 11+ intakes. So you could always change if school 1 not to your liking. However, some schools (inc Habs I think) only take in children at set times.

Judy1234 Wed 21-Jan-09 12:58:26

The nicer schoosl share exams and form a consortium. I think some of our daughters' prospective schools did that whic his much nice or they just use common entrance and offers all out on the same day like university entrance.

LadyMuck Wed 21-Jan-09 13:04:53

If you do pay multiple deposits do make sure that you remember to cancel the unwanted places by Easter, otherwise you may end up becoming liable for the first terms fees as well. Which I think is especially unfair at 6th form level as sometimes you have to wait to see what GSCE results are before you are sure that you have a place for the Alevels that you want.

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