Are private schools reopening to more year groups?

(53 Posts)
CatsRock Wed 03-Jun-20 07:59:40

Interested as our DC are in a fee paying international school. The school seems to be struggling with the different tone direction from the Govt of diaspora it caters for and the U.K. Govt on school reopening.

They are telling us they can't open to more year groups in primary until the uk government directs them to. But they are still planning to take their (much longer) holidays from start of July.

So the chances of our primary DC getting the month at school before the holidays the uk Govt suggests are not looking good - as they will run out of time. and we're still being charged full fees!

What are other uk private and prep schools doing? Are they opening to more year groups faster? Are they extending their terms into the summer holidays? Have they discounted fees for this term?

OP’s posts: |
Aethelthryth Wed 03-Jun-20 08:06:05

Private schools cannot open to more year groups or faster than the UK Government guidance states, even though that guidance is designed for state schools and notwithstanding the ability to apply social distancing. If they do so their liability insurance will be void. Most private schools have been offering pretty full online education during the term, so the staff will need their summer holidays. Some schools have discounted fees, others haven't: they still have to get all of their costs

CatsRock Wed 03-Jun-20 08:19:39

Sure they still have costs, but haven't they been able to furlough non teaching staff etc?

Honestly the 'but we have to cover costs' thing is spurious. I work for a large business. We have to cover all our costs too. But we refund where customers are not receiving a service, or discount where they are getting a lesser service. The competition and markets authority requires this. So we're making a loss right now. But that's what's necessary to maintain good customer relationships long term. And we'll have to cut costs to stay in business most likely.

We have online teaching but it is a lesser service than in school attendance and teaching. And there is a cohort of staff not contributing to online teaching (playground assistants, school nurse, library, PE). Full fees are not justified.

OP’s posts: |
AveEldon Wed 03-Jun-20 08:24:30

No extension of term here, no other year groups returning, small fee discount

Letseatgrandma Wed 03-Jun-20 08:26:21

I don’t think any other year groups will be returning before the summer-private school or otherwise.

FluffyEarMuffs Wed 03-Jun-20 08:28:52

30% discount on fees for this term, school open to key workers children, no year groups at all returning until September.

LandofBears Wed 03-Jun-20 08:47:30

I haven't heard of any school doing more than years nursery, R, 1,6. Although in our case I'm surprised they didn't do year 8 instead of 6 as ours transition in year 8 not 6. Who knows what it will look like come September. If we get a second wave over summer no one may be back again except key worker kids.


meditrina Wed 03-Jun-20 08:59:28

If they are providing no teaching at all, then a refund would be in order.

Many schools took fees for the summer - because the closure came on such short notice and for uncertain duration. Now it's becoming clearer, schools are beginning to offer some refunds and to defer planned increases in September.

So the first thing to look at is what online provision there is - Sutton Truse showed that close on 60% are (compared to under 30% of state schools), and also if other activities are included (online assemblies/form periods, virtual sports challenges, choirs singing together apart, art challenges etc) plus availability of teachers and coaches.

Also think about how you want your DC education to go over the coming years. If this school goes bust - where would you send them instead?

Epigram Wed 03-Jun-20 09:02:40

The private primary school near here is opening the same year groups as the state schools. Their online homeschooling for the other year groups is much better though.

Zodlebud Wed 03-Jun-20 11:24:30

Our prep has said it is highly unlikely years 7 and 8 will get to go back before September as it looks like only years 10 and 12 from secondary schools will be allowed back.

They have to stick to the same government guidance as for state schools.

AllPowerfulLizardPerson Wed 03-Jun-20 11:32:14

Out of mild curiosity, what happened with CE this year? Did all schools agree to pass all DC (seeing as next to no-one fails anyhow)?

MotheringShites Wed 03-Jun-20 11:37:32

We have had a 17% fee discount with a full online learning timetable.

PP are correct that while some schools (including ours) are ready and willing to take all the children back in June, they will not be insured until the government give approval.

I have written to my MP about this and had a favourable response. As with most prep schools Y6 is not a priority year group and I believe that head teachers should have discretion to make the right decisions based on their facilities and ability to create safer environments.

vivavivaviva Wed 03-Jun-20 12:53:57

Only the allowed year groups at our prep, which luckily both mine fall into. I know our school is ready to take as many years as allowed, but hands are tied at the moment. 20% discount (100% in nursery) and pretty good online provision for the school aged one.

Ours has taken an extra week for half term, moved it to the end of term - mid July, gives the other years more time back in school if they're allowed back in.

zafferana Wed 03-Jun-20 13:10:14

My DC are both at private schools - one prep and one senior - and both have stated that they are required to follow the government guidance. We've had a small fee reduction and both providing a full timetable of lessons via Microsoft Teams.

Like you, I fear that my primary one may not be able to return to school before they break up for the summer holidays on 11th July, which is a shame as Y6 are back, which would not be a priority year group as our prep has a senior school and 80% of pupils just go there. Class sizes are also around 13-20 typically, so it would be quite easy for them to reopen to other year groups while practising social distancing. I'm really disappointed that the government haven't allowed independent schools to do their own thing on this.

SummerInSun Wed 03-Jun-20 13:34:44

Another with a DS at a private primary which has only gone back for the year groups the government has allowed. And kids in reception and year 1 are only back every second day. Online learning and a small fee discount for everyone else.

cabbageking Wed 03-Jun-20 15:34:59

They should be following the same guidance.

areyoubeingserviced Wed 03-Jun-20 15:36:39

Not in our case.

Motorcyclemptiness Wed 03-Jun-20 15:44:21

allpowerfullizardperson - as far as i'm aware, they did just that. i say as far as i'm aware, as i am going on DS' former prep. Senior schools agreed to take all kids who had received their provisional offers, but CE will still be sat online/on paper at home next week I think - thereafter, the kids won't even have online lessons, i believe. Shame that they don't get to finish their primary education with their classmates, like year sixes do in primary, but i suppose they are in the exact same boat as A level pupils.

WoollyFoolly Wed 03-Jun-20 15:48:50

My DC is at a private prep and we have had a 30% discount. No live lessons but a pretty full timetable of work happening. Only Reception, Y1 and Y6 are back and no plans have been mentioned for extending the term - we only have 5 weeks this term and finish early July so there is scope for it but I doubt it would happen.

Motorcyclemptiness Wed 03-Jun-20 15:50:33

And, more generally, all private schools are adhering to govt directives, but the idea that they will flout these and 'open to more year groups' seems prevalent - before I read this thread, I had already seen it mooted in several national publications. They cannot and they are not going to do so for obvious reasons, including its not being legal, nor morally right, their insurance would be null and void ,plus overseas boarders could not attend.

underneaththeash Wed 03-Jun-20 17:58:15

It's ridiculous for DD's school. They have 96 acres, plenty of teachers and and could easily cope with the social distancing. Same with DS2's school, their year 8s are really missing out.

We've had a reduction too, but I'd much rather have the back. I don't get the moral arguement, children have a right to be both educated and to play.

trinity0097 Wed 03-Jun-20 20:39:03

We cannot open to additional year groups without the government letting us. We have been warned we could be shut down if we do. We don’t need Year 6 back, we need Year 5 and Year 8!

If private schools let back more year groups then the divide between the haves and the have nots in society grows. Remember, most private schools have delivered more direct teaching to pupils than in state schools, so the children are already less disadvantaged by the school being closed.

StrawberryBlondeStar Wed 03-Jun-20 20:42:09

My children’s school were told they would invalidate their insurance if they opened to other then years allowed by the government.

Singingrain1223 Wed 03-Jun-20 20:42:34

Some privates are taking in as many as possible as children of keyworkers or SEN.

MrsTravers Wed 03-Jun-20 21:43:39

To quote @trinity0097:

'If private schools let back more year groups then the divide between the haves and the have nots in society grows. Remember, most private schools have delivered more direct teaching to pupils than in state schools, so the children are already less disadvantaged by the school being closed.'

If you read the DfE guidance, it makes it very. clear that private schools have to return year groups in line with state schools. I think that is perfectly reasonable for the reason above. It will also be much easier for pupils at private school to catch up once they do return.

And I speak as someone with one child
in private and the other in state schools.

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