Thank you. The first point of reference to your rights will be the contract you had with the establishment. Unless the contract contained a specific clause which allowed the refund of fees in the event of unforeseen circumstances, there is no automatic right to expect a refund, even if they are closed and you are not receiving the service you had paid for.
The relevant clause in your contract is 14. It states that if they have made reasonable attempts to minimise the effects of this event and have taken alternative approaches to provide their services, like remote teaching, then you will continue being liable for the fees. Only if they are completely unable to provide any services for at least 14 days will you stop having to pay them the fees.
Some establishments are considering discounts on the fees due, or a fee freezes in the next academic year, whilst others allow the parents to offset the fees against these due for the period when the children eventually return. Another option is a partial refund for services the establishment would not have to spend money on, like food, transport, utilities or staff wages. However, these steps are voluntary and down to each establishment.
The first step would be to speak to the establishment to find out what fee breaks are on offer. If you know other parents you may wish to do it all together to add a bit more weight to your argument. If you are struggling to pay you should also inquire about bursaries.
Certain trade bodies overseeing the private education industry have commented that such establishments “are under immense pressures and this is one of the issues that will be dealt with at establishment level, depending on their individual policies and contracts with parents. It’s always a case of parents approaching their schools and making sure there’s a strong relationship and being willing to share any difficulties they face."
Does this answer your query?