Terms of Enrolment are often thought of as a mere form in an enrolment pack. The value of Terms of Enrolment go beyond this: correctly drafted agreements are fundamental to establishing enduring relationships between your school and potential parents and guardians. This the case where the Terms of Enrolment set the expectations for your school and the parents and guardians so that if things do go wrong, there is no ambiguity about the rights and responsibilities of your school in recovering fees and continuing education.
So, what terms will set such expectations? Read on to find out.
- An obligation for parents and guardians to keep their contact details up to date – Mainlining a line of communication is key to resolving fee related disputes. Placing an onus on parents and guardians to update the school about changing contact details will help to keep the school’s contact records up to date. In time, this will reduce instances where disputes arise from missed fee statements and reminders or proceedings commenced from an inability to contact parents and guardians to discuss payment.
- Scope for variation – It is commonplace to include a term that provides the school with scope to vary the agreement. Whilst that is a good start, avoid disputes where variations are deemed “unfair” by including a note about where parents and guardians can find the variations, how often parents and guardians should check for variations and exactly what parents and guardians should do if the variation causes concern.
- Payment terms – Clearly defined payment terms that set expectations around fee payment will allow parents and guardians to budget for school fees and other costs. Rather than a blanket clause which specifies that school fees are due “in advance” or “at the commencement of the term”, consider including a payment schedule which sets out the amount of fees due at particular points of time during the child’s enrolment so that parents and guardians have realistic expectations about the payment of fees.
- Consequences of non-payment – Terms of Enrolment often include a term which permits the school to restrict a student’s participation as a consequence of unpaid school fees. The reality is that the desire to educate students will prevail and the school will continue to educate a student even where school fees remain unpaid. Keep an eye out of parts 2 and 3 of this Schools Blog series which will help you to recover unpaid fees.