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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My son has been in private education since he was 5 he is now

Customer Question

My son has been in private education since he was 5 he is now 17. After going up to 6th form 2012 he received throughout the year expected a/b grades for his a/s levels. He received in the end 1xfail 1xc and 2xds. he is committed to his grades wanting to become a marine engineer so he studied hard. No teacher spoke to us regarding these grades and after some discussion with other schools we realised that he could not pull his grades up in the final year we removed him to another school to start the sixth form again. He was very upset at leaving his school with his friends and lifestyle and he had also paid quite a lot of the fees towards his sixth form himself as we were under financial pressure at that time. However when he left the private school there was still £900 left to pay for the year. This of course I do not want to pay as I feel that they let him down on all levels. Please could you tell me what my position is here?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.
I would like some more information please
Are you disputing the fees our outstanding , or simply saying you dont wish to pay?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

No I am not disputing that the £900 completed the years tuition fees of £14k. What I am disputing is whether they should still be able to ask me for them after my son wasted a whole year at the school and did not get the grades they told us he would. Also when I emailed them saying that he would have to start the year again or go to another school they said he didn't need to but could just continue into the upper sixth. However, he could not have pulled up his grades even if he got all A"s to have gone to University.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Did you give them proper notice?

I presume they didn't guarantee him grades?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The notice period was sufficient not to garner further fees. No grades are not guaranteed, however, with the results of his mocks and various pretests as I said earlier he was expected to get a/b's also his GCSE results were extremely good. My son was devastated when he couldn't return to the school, and that he had to go back a year to rest all of his exams. I feel that the failure of the school to have foreseen this should be accountable.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I'm really sorry but the failings of the school, if any, will not assist here.

How much notice did you give and how much was due under the contract?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am sorry but the notice period has no bearing on this question as I am not being charged for not giving the correct notice to quit the school. I am expected to pay for the lower sixth term a final payment of £900 which my son completed but was as I have said earlier completely wasted, bad teaching, bad advice etc and he has to re do it at another school. Under contractual terms I understand that there has to be something in return for your money?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
It does have a bearing.

The only way you will escape liability I'm afraid is to argue that you did give the required notice.

In all other respects you are liable. They did not guarantee certain grades. I do understand that you were hoping for better grades but the fact that your son did not achieve them does not prove that the school was at fault. They will just argue that he was a poor student and I'm afraid that will probably be accepted.

Even if he performs well elsewhere that doesn't prove the school were at fault. It just suggests he performed badly on this occasion. We can all do that and subsequently improve.

Your only hope is the notice period. Otherwise their claim against you will succeed I'm afraid.

You are entitled to something for your money and indeed you received it. Your son had a place at that school.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

The place at the school was bought! They cannot argue that he is a poor student as all of his reports state that he has done well in all his pre tests etc and his grades would be good. I do accept that on the day it can be a different matter, but this is not the case here I believe. I agree that I will probably have to pay it they had a duty of care to my son which they failed.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, that might be right.

Even a good student can have a bad day.

I'm very sorry but I cannot agree that the fact that he got bad results can be blamed upon the school.

All you bought was a place at the school at the subsequent tuition. You did not buy good grades.

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