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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71130
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hello, I need advise about my son's former school. My son was

an independent school from nursery... Show More
an independent school from nursery 2009 up until last summer term of 2014. We were having a number of issues with the class teacher. I approached the teacher in the first term to ask how he was getting on. She found him difficult to understand saying that at times he could understand complex things but not simple things and was very fidgety. The conversation ended in asking if he may have Asperger's and later asking me to research Dyspraxia. Being really concerned over this I spoke to a child psychologist who assured me that my son seemed to be going through normal development stages and that there was more concern with the teacher/pupil relationship. A couple of months later my son came and told me the teacher said he smelt like a 'somosa' and they are unpleasant. He was also given a handout with no name to look at children with behavioural problems. When I approached the deputy head she apologised and said that the handout was not meant for him. She also said she would investigate the comment made. She later apologised but I was given the explanation that the class was small and hot. I saw my son's confidence begin eroded during the year. I also got him a maths tutor to help him. Despite the tutor and my help my son was put in the bottom sets. Yet his report contradicted this saying he was above national average and he got a glowing report. With all the problems he was having and going from being a happy child to a miserable child I with drew him quickly and put him a new school where he has been thriving.
His former school demands a terms payment in lieu. I due to all the problems I had no option but withdraw him immediately and could not give notice as I was not leaving under normal circumstances. It was never my intention to leave he had been at the school for four years. I wrote and spoke to an officer at Cognita the schools owners and was advised to put my complaint in writing. Which I have done after much chasing I received a letter saying that they disagreed with me and would not waive the fees. The letter is unsatisfactory and does not address all issues. Also I know of other parents who have complained about the teacher. I was actually approached by another parent asking why I left when I explained they said they were having similar problems. I refuse to pay the fees I felt compelled to leave due to teacher's behaviour which was harming the learning of my son. I was told I had received an apology from the said teacher (which I did not) and that my son was confused.
Could you pls advise what I could do next. Thank you. Shaheda Ohid
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Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Are you asking if you can escape liability on this basis?
Customer reply replied 3 years ago.

I would term it escape, but I feel that I should not be paying the fees when I felt compelled to leave as my son was suffering in his learning.

I was not leaving due to moving etc

Thanks for the information and the time.
I am sorry but I cannot give you good news then. I’m afraid you are in difficulty here.
It is entirely understandable that you want to remove him in these circumstances. However, you have to act within the contract and that demands notice. You did not give notice so you are liable.
Come what may, your contract demands that they provide a place and indeed they have. They are not in breach of contract. You may well find them displeasing but that doesn't mean that you can escape the contract.
There needs to be a really fundamental breach of contract before you can withdraw in this way - something like the school being burnt to the ground and his place no longer available.
I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.