Independent schools differ from state schools in that they are not legally obliged to observe the guidelines of the government's Education Acts or Guidance. As a consequence, when parents enter into a dispute with independent schools, they often feel especially vulnerable, imagining that they have no legal protection. Thankfully, this is not true and independent schools must still adhere to the rules of fairness, the Independent Schools Regulations and if they breach their procedures, you could have a claim for breach of contract. In other words, no matter what the nature of your dispute, as the parent of a child attending an independent school, you still have a right to expect a certain standard of education.
When schools demand payment without providing adequate service...
One particularly common area of dispute, in which our experienced education solicitors are often asked to intervene, occurs when parents have had no choice but to remove their child from an independent school and are then pressured by the school into continuing to pay school fees.
In this and in every other situation, it is important to remember that the legal relationship between parents and every school in the independent sector is based upon a contract. What this means is that you as the purchaser of a product have a legal right to expect, and indeed to demand, a level of service commensurate with the fees you have paid. However, it is also important to remember, as a parent, to read the terms and conditions before you enter into them because if the contract is breached by the parent, arguments as to whether the breach was warranted are of course subjective.
In cases where schools demand the payment of fees after a child has been removed (if the requisite notice has not been given), legally, the parents can find themselves in a sometimes difficult position. Each case will be analysed on its facts, therefore, the detail and reasons for the withdrawal are very important. Parents should also consider pursuing complaints through the complaints procedures before taking any decision.
How Match Solicitors can help in these cases...
We have a great deal of experience mediating on behalf of parents when disputes with independent schools arise. We also have an unparalleled record when it comes to achieving favourable results on behalf of parents.
Our co-director Anita Chopra is nationally acknowledged as one of the UK's few legal experts known to specialise in this area. Alongside her team of dedicated education solicitors, Anita is fully committed to achieving the best possible result for parents, always making every effort to do so without the necessity for protracted and expensive litigation.
If your child's school is unfairly chasing you for fees, get in touch with one of our team at Match Solicitors today and we can advise you as to how best to proceed with your case.