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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 78215
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My daughter goes to a private school and I want to remove

Customer Question

My daughter goes to a private school and I want to remove her from the school. However, on their contract, the notice is to be given a term in advance. which means, we need to give notice at the end of easter to be removed by autumn term. However, I have totally mis-read this, and have given a notice before the Summer term ends. They are now asking for a full term fees which is a huge sum of money
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Derby
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have only given a written notice and have had a chat with a admin
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no
Submitted: 13 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 days ago.
Hello, I’m Ben, a solicitor, and it’s my pleasure to assist you. I may ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 days ago.

I understand a private school is wanting payment for a full term as you did not provide the required contractual notice. Please copy and paste the exact wording of the relevant clause/s from the contract on here

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
9 Provisions about notice
9.1 Term: means the period between and including the first and last days of the relevant school
9.2 Notice: means (unless the contrary is stated in these terms and conditions) a term's written
notice given by:
9.2.1 both Parents; or
9.2.2 one of the Parents with the prior written consent of the other parent; and
9.2.3 any other person with Parental Responsibility
Derby High School
Terms and Conditions
before the first day of Term addressed to and received by the Headteacher personally or the
Bursar on the Headteacher’s behalf. It is expected that the Parents will consult with the
Headteacher before giving Notice to withdraw the Pupil.
9.3 A Term's Written Notice: means Notice given before the first day of a Term and expiring at
the end of that Term. A Term's Written Notice must be given if:
9.3.1 the Parents wish to cancel a place after acceptance; or
9.3.2 the Parents wish to withdraw the Pupil who has entered the School; or
9.3.3 following the GCSE year or AS Level year, the Pupil will not return for the following
year even if he / she has achieved the required grades.
9.4 Provisional notice: is valid only for the Term in which it is given. Provisional notice must be
given in writing and received by the Headteacher personally or the Bursar on the
Headteacher’s behalf.
9.5 Fees in lieu of notice: in circumstances where the Parents have not given a Term's Written
Notice, Fees in lieu of notice means Fees in full at the rate applicable for the next Term
following withdrawal and not limited to the parental contribution in the case of a
scholarship, exhibition, bursary or other award or concession. One Term's Fees in lieu of
notice represents a genuine pre-estimate of the School's loss in these circumstances, and
sometimes the actual loss to the School will be much greater. This rule is necessary to
promote stability and the School's ability to plan its staffing and other resources. The parent
shall also be liable to pay all costs, fees, disbursements and charges including legal fees and
costs reasonably incurred by the client in the recovery of any unpaid Fees regardless of the
value of the claim.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 days ago.

Thank you, ***** ***** did you give notice?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Last week on the 17th of June
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 days ago.

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now. I will get back to you with my full reply on here; usually the same day and the system will notify you when this happens. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, it is appreciated. I am now pleased to be able to provide further assistance with your query. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues brought up by this. It must be a frustrating situation to be going through.

The requirement to give a term’s notice, with the notice to be submitted before the start of the term in question, is entirely normal for educational establishments and is a standard clause. The fact that you have misread it does not give you specific rights to challenge that and to request that the school does not charge you for an extra term to satisfy that notice requirement.

However, you can still consider negotiating with them, or even refusing to pay and seeing where they may take this.

Whilst a party can make demands for payment, instruct debt collectors or threaten legal action, it is important to note that they can only really force someone to pay if they actually go to court, submit a claim and are successful with it.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 days ago.

There is, however, no guarantee that they will actually ever go that far. Many people issue threats and demands, without ever having the intention of taking the matter to Court. This is done in the hope that the scare the other party into complying with their demands to avoid the risk of being taken to Court. However, until a formal notification of a Court claim has been issued, there is never a guarantee that a claim will actually be made and it could always remain just a threat, rather than reality.

Even if a claim was made, due to the value of compensation sought, this matter would be assigned to the Small Claims Court. This is a relatively low-risk option because it is specifically aimed at the smaller, legally unrepresented parties. The costs of claiming are not that high, there is no need to have a lawyer and incur further costs as a result and even if a party loses the claim, they will not be liable to pay the other side’s legal fees. All they would have to pay is the court fees, which at most will be several hundred pounds and whatever the Court has decided should be paid to the claimant as a result of their original claim.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 days ago.

Also, once judgment has been issued, on the assumption you lose, the judgment is entered on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines, where it will remain for 6 years. This is what is known as ‘having a CCJ’ and can impact your credit rating. However, if payment of the judgment is made within one month, the record will be removed from the Register and will no longer be visible. If payment is made after one month has passed, it will still remain on the Register for the 6 years, but will be marked as ‘satisfied’.

To conclude, it is possible to wait and see how far the other side is willing to take this before deciding on how to respond and even if a claim is made, it is possible to proceed and defend the claim in the knowledge that the financial risks of doing so will not be astronomically high and if any judgment made against you is paid within a month, there will be no further repercussions.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 13 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thanks Ben Jones
Also we do not have that kind of money to pay back. We are hence removing our child from the school. We are not cheating in any way, we have just made a mistake in reading and understanding. there is still 2 months before my child can leave the school.
for now I would just negotiate and refuse to pay. Am I right?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
In case the court rules against us, will be need to pay a penalty along with the money we are expected to pay?
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I am having to pay for something I am not getting any service back and it is a big sum
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 days ago.

Hello again and thank you for your further queries, which I will be more than happy to answer. You are correct , the best approach is to explain to them what happened and that you simply have no money to pay this so any claim would be pointless and won’t get them the money.

If hey do claim and win, you will have to pay the amount owed, their court fees (a few hundred pounds, so not much), plus potentially a bit of interest, but again that will not be much at all. There will be no other penalties.

If you cannot afford to pay at once, you can also request they order a repayment over time.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thanks for your help Ben
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 days ago.

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions about this, please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be happy to help. All the best.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 days ago.

My pleasure