In the case of any dispute between the parent or guardian of a child or young person and an independent school, there are a few basic rules that should always be respected:
- Be sure to read all of the paperwork - the terms and conditions of the school and the prospectus - before signing a contract.
- If you are unhappy with any aspect of your child's education, make sure to put your complaints in writing, in email or letter. Verbal communication is less reliable as it can always be denied.
- Always abide by the school's formal complaint procedure, a copy of which they will have in writing. Read the document carefully before you make the decision to remove your child.
- In the event that a complaint is eventually raised, keep all documents and notes of any meetings, telephone conversations etc., as a record.
- Endeavour at first to resolve all issues internally with school staff. If the issues persist, seek legal advice as to the next steps available to you.
When disputes arise between parents and independent schools, parents often feel particularly vulnerable, as independent schools, unlike state schools, are not obliged to conform to the Education Acts or Guidance issued by the Department for Education.
They must still, however, conform to the rules of natural justice and public law principles, as well as Independent School Regulations.
As the legal relationship between you as a parent and any school in the independent sector is a contractual one, you naturally demand a high level of service as a return for the fees you have paid. Sometimes, however, the level of education provided by independent schools is found to be of an insufficiently high standard.
Our specialist team at Match Solicitors has extensive experience of representing parents in disputes against independent schools. Anita Chopra is an expert in this area and is dedicated, along with her team, to securing the best possible outcome for parents, whether through negotiation or litigation.
At Match we have assisted parents with a wide variety of disputes with independent schools, including but not restricted to:
- The withdrawal of pupils from schools without the required term's notice, leading to disputes over the non-payment of school fees
- Expulsion, suspension or requests for the removal of pupils
- Complaint hearings
- Discrimination issues
- Breach of contract and negligence claims
Our focus is on preventing long periods of litigation and the risk of associated costs by bringing about an amicable resolution of the issues for both parties. We aim to do this as quickly as possible and, most importantly, in the best interests of the client.
If you'd like to know more, please contact us.