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contesting private school term notice

(51 Posts)
starmix2 Fri 10-Jun-16 11:45:23

Dear All,
I appreciate your help with an expensive problem. I enrolled my son into a local independent nursery which is part of a school for up to age 11. My intention was really for him to go to the nursery only but to move on state school at school age. He was 4 in September2015 and as a consequence he could not go to government school. I therefore asked for him to be placed in reception with the intention of repeating this year. He has now a place at the local state school where he will repeat reception . The independent school where he is currently at reception have said that I will need to pay a full term tuition fee as I was short of the term notice. I was shown the contract I signed 3 years ago when my son started nursery. The contract is titled nursery and school. I feel this is unfair as it is a rolling contract being applied for a school which is very different in structure for the nursery which he had started with, different in number of days, fees, hours and school year. There was no reminder given regarding the rolling contract or notice period. Most of the children do not stay on from nursery so the argument that the school mentions that the nursery is a feeder for the school is not realistic.

meditrina Fri 10-Jun-16 11:51:54

A terms notice is standard, and has been tested and upheld in the courts many times.

What does the contract say about transfer to the pre-prep?

fatowl Fri 10-Jun-16 11:57:06

I am a governor at a private school and I sit on the review panel that deals with cases like this.
Just to clarify, your son was 4 in Sept 2015, so is due to start State School reception in Sept 16 is that correct? So you asked for him to be put into the Recption class of the Independant school, and then withdrew him when you got a place in a state school (a Reception class?- he's a bit young) so you no longer want the Independent school place?

If I've understood correctly, by initially accepting the place in the IS reception, you've accepted their terms and you will have to forfeit the fees.

Correctly if I've misunderstood the situation.

CotswoldStrife Fri 10-Jun-16 11:59:07

It's a standard clause, as meditrina mentions. So did the other parents give notice (you say that most of the nursery don't go to the school)?

fatowl Fri 10-Jun-16 12:10:09

Sorry, to clarify he has he been in the IS school reception this last year (2015-16), even though he has not yet turned 5? I would calculate him being in nursery/preschool year.
Or are you talking about him going into reception this coming Sept?
Why does he need to repeat Reception?

Probably not relevant though, I doubt you'll be able to get the fees back - seems fairly straightforward to me.

disappoint15 Fri 10-Jun-16 12:18:23

But he is already in the reception of the school, not the nursery, so you have already accepted the terms of the primary school. You are withdrawing him from going into Y1 in the private school to repeat reception (as he has a September birthday) in a state school, so you need to give a term's notice. You should have read the terms and conditions when you signed him up to reception.

starmix2 Fri 10-Jun-16 12:46:44

Yes but I did the intention was not repeat nursery as he get more from reception than repeating another year in nursery. I did not get a new contract at this stage.

starmix2 Fri 10-Jun-16 12:47:33

i.e. my only contract was from nursery

starmix2 Fri 10-Jun-16 12:49:32

The contract does not mention transfer to pre-prep. It only states the conditions for nursery and school on the same paper. But when I signed it it was only with the intention of keeping him in nursery and transfer to state school when possible

meditrina Fri 10-Jun-16 12:53:05

"I did not get a new contract at this stage."

This is almost certainly not relevant, as the contract you signed when you first joined the school will normally contain provisions for transfer between departments up the school. And it seems that a term's notice applies in both nursery and preprep (so it's staying the same, not a longer notice period which you were unaware of).

As state reception places were allocated in April, you had plenty of opportunity to give notice at the correct time.

meditrina Fri 10-Jun-16 12:57:56

Sorry, slow typing

"The contract does not mention transfer to pre-prep. It only states the conditions for nursery and school on the same paper."

Transfer conditions are not required then. You signed a contract for both parts of the school and your DC has attended both parts.

Your intentions at signing (for when DC might leave) are also not relevant, in the sense that you did not give formal notice then either.

MrsJoeyMaynard Fri 10-Jun-16 13:02:17

As state reception places were allocated in April, you had plenty of opportunity to give notice at the correct time.

Not necessarily. Our local schools had the Easter holidays at the end of March, to fall in around the actual date of Easter this year, and the summer term started before the date for finding out when reception places were allocated. If OP's school had similar holidays, she'd have had to give her terms notice before knowing if her DC had a place in her desired state school.

But regardless, I'd expect the contract OP signed saying a terms notice to be valid throughout the child's time at the school, whether the child leaves at age 4 or 10. Plus, OPs son has been in reception, so the school might reasonably assume he'd move up into Year 1 in the independent school in September.

Lurkedforever1 Fri 10-Jun-16 13:03:48

Just to repeat everyone else, a terms notice is standard, and upheld by the courts if it comes to it.

To repeat medi the transfer to reception is irrelevant.

fatowl Fri 10-Jun-16 13:26:56

Am I the only one confused by the talking about repeating nursery/reception. Why does he need to repeat? Is there a SEN issue, or does your IS call its nursery year "Reception" or something? (Misses point of thread I know)

CotswoldStrife Fri 10-Jun-16 13:43:54

OP, from what you've said on here it seems clear that the contract covers the whole of the nursery/school provision and that you are bound by it. You seem to have had no qualms about transferring your child out of the nursery into the school/pre-prep without a new contract.

BeautifulMaudOHara Fri 10-Jun-16 13:47:40

It's standard to give a terms notice, you should pay it.

sw15mum Fri 10-Jun-16 13:56:47

Fatowl- I think he was technically too young for Reception (September birthday) but the independent school let him go into their Reception class last September. He is now going into Reception at State School this September because that is the correct class for him.

WhattodoSue Fri 10-Jun-16 14:23:29

I don't understand why you think the terms notice shouldn't apply. Did you think you had found a loop-hole?

It seems very normal.

Cleo1303 Fri 10-Jun-16 14:30:19

When did you get the offer of the state school place and when did you advise the private school their place would not be needed?

This is a pretty standard clause and as others have already said the courts always seem to uphold it.

The private school was holding a place for your son from September. They may well have turned down another prospective pupil because of that. I think you are liable to pay their fees for the next term in lieu of notice.

fatowl Fri 10-Jun-16 14:35:18

Thanks sw15mum
That makes sense now

Dixiechickonhols Fri 10-Jun-16 16:17:31

As above that sort of notice period is standard and enforceable.

The only contract i've signed was when DD started nursery when she was 4, she is still in the school age 10.

They have no obligation to remind you, you may have decided to keep the child in the school. On the positive side at least you no longer have school fees to pay.

lougle Fri 10-Jun-16 16:37:48

Sadly, no-one can help you out of this, because you have to pay.

TheCatCushion Fri 10-Jun-16 16:55:52

I agree, it seems very straightforward. Sorry you are contractually bound to give a term's notice. The contract you have is very similar to the one we have (ie it applied to the nursery and the school) and requires a term's notice, or payment of a term's fees

booface Fri 10-Jun-16 16:58:41

I agree that contractually you are bound to give a terms notice. However, if "your" place has been filled, I wouldn't have thought the school would chase you on this. They might issue an invoice, but that is as far as it might go...

LIZS Fri 10-Jun-16 17:02:25

No one is forcing you to move your child. You could defer his state reception place until Christmas allowing you to give the relevant notice. Or you pay for the place in lieu as per the contract.

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