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Getting "registration fee" back from nursery school NOT considering DD for Place

(19 Posts)
Davros Sun 19-Jun-05 21:57:41

I have registered DD for about 4 local private nursery schools. These are all "formal" school and she would start in Sept 2006 when she will be 3.5 years. Each school wanted a "registration fee" of £40-£60 which I have paid, humph. One school has just written to say that there will not be a place for her in Sept 2006 as they have had applications from so many siblings of children currently attending the school. I think, therefore, that they should return the fee as they are NOT considering her. In theory they could accept applications for 1000 parents for 20 places and keep most of the money. I am going to phone them tomorrow about this. What do you all think? Does anyone have any experience of this? If they refuse to refund the fee, who should I contact next? Its not a question of the money, although I wouldn't mind it back, but the principle.

Gobbledigook Sun 19-Jun-05 22:01:17

I've no experience but imo it would be outrageous of them to keep the fee - what's this bloody fee for anyway? Writing her name on a list and that's it?! I'd demand it back.

Ladymuck Sun 19-Jun-05 22:06:32

Well good luck!
IME these fees tend to be fairly common for private schools/nurseries. They tend to also act as insurance against those parents who do put their names down for several schools, but obviously just go to one. Have had to pay registration fees to either go on waiting lists or for a chance of interview. Never been in the position to pay for a straight rejection though!

paolosgirl Sun 19-Jun-05 22:08:03

I had to pay a registration fee when mine attended private nursery - but would have been furious if they hadn't taken them and kept the fee regardless. Have you read the small print on the contract? Does it say anything about the fee being non-refundable?

zebraZ Sun 19-Jun-05 22:11:50

I remember looking at nurseries that had non-refundable registration fees, it isn't that uncommon. It's a sort of "make sure you don't waste our time" fee.

Socci Sun 19-Jun-05 22:13:58

Message withdrawn

Davros Sun 19-Jun-05 22:14:14

I know its normal and I have coughed up in order to be considered, but I think this is a bit different. I'll let you all know what happens when I phone tomorrow. They haven't even mentioned it in the letter, not even, we're keeping it so there!

Aero Sun 19-Jun-05 22:15:02

No experience either, but agree that they should refund as they are not considering her. Would be different if you applied, were accepted, then went elsewhere.

Gobbledigook Sun 19-Jun-05 22:18:28

Agree with Aero - it's absolutely outrageous to take your money just to put her on a list and then to tell you she won't even be considered. How can they get away with that?!

Socci Sun 19-Jun-05 22:54:37

Message withdrawn

Davros Mon 20-Jun-05 00:02:08

I just think they should sort out their admin. If they are going to give places to siblings first then they should be asked to apply first, then the waiting list may or may not be full. They can then tell people like me that it is closed, fine!!! Let's see what happens....
BTW, I did pay it out of the bank account I keep for child benefit for DD and DS and all of DS's DLA and my Carers' Allowance, so I could have spent it on something useful for DS

ghosty Mon 20-Jun-05 06:30:36

It is a 'registration' fee ... ie, if your dd is accepted and so she is registered. It is not an 'application' fee ...
If it were an application fee then you obviously couldn't get it back but if they are not registering her then they need to give you the money back.
IME the private schools I have worked in only take a fee for children registered to start at x date.
If they don't pay it back then you need to take it further ... Watchdog???

Fran1 Mon 20-Jun-05 07:21:30

I used to manage a nursery and we collected a registration fee. Zebra is exactly right its a don't waste our time fee.

It is extremely difficult to know who you will be able to offer a place and when. As a nursery normally has three age groups ( if you take from 3mths) then you can't be sure at what stage each child will be ready to move into the next group and therefore open up places for people on the list.

But we were hugely inundated with people wanting places and often they were prepared to wait two years or more. If we closed the list at some point, then we'd probably find we were short of people as many may have found alternative childcare by the time we were able to offer them a place.

I have to say before reading your post (which i agree with in principle) i had never known of anyone to ask for a refund if we couldn't have offered a place, because we more often than not could probably offer a place at the following term if not the one the parent wanted.

I think if a child could not get a place at all, ever, then i'm sure i could have persuaded the owners to refund. But this had never happened.

LIZS Mon 20-Jun-05 08:44:33

Agree that is the system - right or wrong. However I think you could ask them whether your dd is on the waiting list and if so where. It is perfectly possible that some families will leave in the interim and plans change. For example at the school ours are planned to attend from September they have just had 2 Reception places come up unexpectedly. dd was put on their list almost at birth as demand for places there is so high and ds has been waiting for 4 years ! If your dd doesn't figure in the top 10 on that list, or if they may still take as yet unregistered siblings ahead of her, so it is impossibel she would get a palce at all then you may have more reason to argue for your money. What some schools may do is hold your registration and application, including the fee, in case a space should come up in future years, assuming it feeds into infant school.

sinclair Mon 20-Jun-05 14:19:44

I do think it is outrageous but I imagine they are within their rights keeping the fee. They presumably at some point made the criteria for entry available to you - you probably asked to see them, or enquired how they make the selection? If at that point they made it clear that siblings have priority over date of registration/proximity to school/SEN/colour of hair/whatever they like as they are private, then I think they are OK. If siblings have priority and they knew they were likely to get a bagful of applications from those parents, it would be nice to think they alerted other applicants - but they are running a business so ethics may sadly not come into it.

Davros Mon 20-Jun-05 17:39:01

Basically DD is not on the waiting list for Sept 06, that is filled with siblings. That is what I applied for, so she would at least be considered for a place then but they are not even going to consider her...... They may be able to offer places a year later, I'm not interested as I don't want to move her then and I think its outrageous to take money off people with no hope of even being considered, they need to have a system where siblings apply first.
Anyway..... I phoned this morning and spoke to the School Sec, Head was in a meeting, my loins were girded for an argument but she said she couldn't see any problem with a refund! . Mind you, she said she or the Head would call back to confirm and I haven't heard anything.....

Socci Tue 21-Jun-05 23:41:08

Message withdrawn

Davros Wed 22-Jun-05 20:43:14

Haven't had a chance to call them back. Things a bit better, thanks Socci. Need to find time to update on SN.

Davros Fri 24-Jun-05 14:44:27

Well bugger my old wellies, phoned them this morning as I hadn't heard anything and they said, yes fine, a cheque is coming from the bursar and will be with you next week!!

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