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Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10916
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
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Hi my children went to a local independant school for the last

Customer Question

Hi my children went to a local independant school for the last 2 years. Over this time there was a lot of negativity from the other parents about the performance of the school and there was considerable upheaval as children were taken out to go to better performing schools. We had ignored all this as even though we weren't happy with the services provided by the school the thought of going to an equally bad or even worse school was unpalletable. In the last few weeks of term though we found out that 2 boys in my son's class were leaving and one was being kept back which meant that my son would be the only boy in his year. My son is a 'boy's boy' and we had major concerns that it wouldn't be a solution that he could remain the only boy in his year and he became quite depressed. We were also concerned that the school didn't inform us of this situation and felt that they had been underhand about this situation. My daughter was placed in almost a similar situation were lots of girls were leaving her year but in her situation she would have been one of two girls. We decided to explore other schools and found one that was really good and took both children for a trial day. On the school finding out this the headmistress and acting deputy head took my wife aside (without an appointment) and threatened her that she was abusing our children by considering taken them out of their school. My wife was so shocked and distressed by their actions she left the school in tears. Pushed over the edge by these actions we gave the school notice on the last day of term. My children now go to a fantastic school and my children's performance has improved noticablably even in these first few weeks.
Unfortunately, we didn't give the school the full terms notice and as a result they are hounding us for the terms fees. I fundamentally object to this as the services that we signed up to weren't being delivered and the fact that my boy would have been the only boy in his year, for me, means that they couldn't offer the services as part of the contract. I'd be interested in exploring any strategies to avoid paying these fees!
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 4 years ago.

Alex Watts : Hello my name is Alex and I will help you with this. Please note that I am a working Solicitor and may be on and offline as I have to attend Court and meet with clients, even at weekends. As such you may not get an instant response when you reply as this is not an ‘on demand’ live service, but rest assured I will be giving your question my immediate attention upon return.
Alex Watts : I am sorry to hear of your trouble. What does the contract state about cancellation notice, is it one term notice?
Alex Watts : Did you ever complain to the school about the standard? How much is the notice period in fees please?
Alex Watts : Note I am on the train so may be on and offline.
JACUSTOMER-n18s3is2- : Hi Alex,
JACUSTOMER-n18s3is2- : the contract (although we don't have a copy) I believe is one terms notice.
JACUSTOMER-n18s3is2- : no we didn't complaint about the standard but we chose to pay extra for 121 tuition for both of our children to a sum of over £400 for one term. Our daughter (who was 9 at the time) was deemed to have the reading ability of an eleven Yeag
JACUSTOMER-n18s3is2- : Year old. The notice period in fees is £5k for my daughter and £3k for my son
Alex Watts : Ok, so we are talking about £8k. How much of that term did they complete?
JACUSTOMER-n18s3is2- : None of the term we took them out at the end of last term but they want us to pay for this term too as notice
Alex Watts : I understand. As you know you agreed to a contract that means you have rights and obligations as well as the school. These rights form a binding contract and can be written, such as the notice period or implied by law.
Alex Watts : It sets out what each party needs to do.
Alex Watts : This means that you are liable, in the contract, to give a months term as notice period.
Alex Watts : On the other hand if the school was not providing the required service expected, advertised or breached their obligations to you in any way then they have breached the contract.
Alex Watts : If you have specific failures that have been documented then they would be in breach of contract. In addition there is a term that is implied by law as in section 13 of the sale and supply of goods and services act 1982 that states they must act with all reasonable skill and care.
Alex Watts : Once again if they have breached this term then they are in breach of their contract to you.
Alex Watts : The way forward I would suggest is this - you need to write to the school, set out each and every failure or breach f the contract and say this is why you refuse to pay any of the fees.
Alex Watts : I think if it comes down to it, you may have to pay something, even a reduced amount. The risk you (and they) run is that if they pursue you the matter could end up in the county court and any claim above £10,000 is what is called fast track and to get to trial would cost around £10,000 in legal fees.
Alex Watts : The rules on fast track is the losing party pays the other sides legal costs.
Alex Watts : Therefore you do want to avoid litigation.
Alex Watts : However write and set out your position to make it clear, send it recorded delivery and keep a copy.
Alex Watts : Can I clarify anything about this for you today please ? Alex
Expert:  Ash replied 4 years ago.
Can I clarify anything for you about your question today? If not, can I invite you to rate my service which I hope has been excellent. If you need more help then please click reply. Thanks - Alex