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Paying high school fees during Remote Learning


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#1 daybreaker

Posted 06 April 2020 - 01:58 PM

My 3 kids are at high fee private schools in Sydney.  They are all now learning from home and the primary school kids do about 2 hours of work a day only.  There is more work set but it is sport, music, languages or other not so important subjects and as I am also working from home part time and they're quite unwilling this is all we manage.  The high school child does his set schoolwork for most of the day but there is very little actual teaching going on.

With so little work going on for the primary school kids I don't feel like I'm getting value for money paying such high school fees! Am I the only one feeling like this? I understand that they still need to pay the teachers but I'm the one teaching (there are no Zoom classes), there are no facilities or co-curricular happening obviously.  I honestly feel like I could teach them the important points myself for the rest of the year using internet resources.  Of course, if I withdrew the younger 2 the problem is they may not get a place again next year.

I think the schools should be at least reducing the fees for this year but that's not going to happen. Anyone else feel the same?

#2 #notallcats

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:04 PM

I think it's early days and I'd wait for term two.  What is the communication like from the school?  Have they said what the plan is?

#3 Dadto2

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:08 PM

View Postdaybreaker, on 06 April 2020 - 01:58 PM, said:

My 3 kids are at high fee private schools in Sydney.  They are all now learning from home and the primary school kids do about 2 hours of work a day only.  There is more work set but it is sport, music, languages or other not so important subjects and as I am also working from home part time and they're quite unwilling this is all we manage.  The high school child does his set schoolwork for most of the day but there is very little actual teaching going on.

With so little work going on for the primary school kids I don't feel like I'm getting value for money paying such high school fees! Am I the only one feeling like this? I understand that they still need to pay the teachers but I'm the one teaching (there are no Zoom classes), there are no facilities or co-curricular happening obviously.  I honestly feel like I could teach them the important points myself for the rest of the year using internet resources.  Of course, if I withdrew the younger 2 the problem is they may not get a place again next year.

I think the schools should be at least reducing the fees for this year but that's not going to happen. Anyone else feel the same?

I agree.

#4 Chaotic Pogo

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:10 PM

If you all do that, the school won’t be there next year.

Just sayin’

Look at it as an annual fee and an ‘act of god’ if it helps.

#5 Amica

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:14 PM

Kind of like gym membership/contracts. It has been stated that gym goers ARE able to break contract and stop paying, because the gym is unable to provide the service. Some gyms are very unhappy about this. They actually make a lot of money from people in contracts that don't actually ever go so this is great for those people!

I guess the same goes with schools, if they can't provide a service, well....

#6 Dadto2

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:16 PM

View PostChaotic Pogo, on 06 April 2020 - 02:10 PM, said:

If you all do that, the school won’t be there next year.

Just sayin’

Look at it as an annual fee and an ‘act of god’ if it helps.

Yeah possibly. They still have to pay teachers wages. I guess it depends on how much $$ they are saving by switching to online. They would be saving something, at my school we have free buses, casual staff, things like water, electricity etc I don't suppose it would amount to much, but passing on the saving would at the very least provide a symbolic gesture.

#7 Julie3Girls

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:26 PM

The teachers are still planning school work, they still need to paid.

I also think it is a bit early to making judgements .. I know a lot of schools are using the last couple of weeks of this term, and the holidays, in order to get things up and running.

Obviously, if they are lot of cocurricular activities that are no longer running,  a partial refund might be appropriate.
But honestly, if you expect the school to be there later, with all the extras you get, it might be heard to reduce the fees.

Wait and see what term 2 offers.

#8 Chaotic Pogo

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:35 PM

Lmao if you think it’s cheaper to run a services business in the current situation. New business models don’t get implemented for free.

As you were.

#9 #YKG

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:41 PM

View PostAmica, on 06 April 2020 - 02:14 PM, said:

Kind of like gym membership/contracts. It has been stated that gym goers ARE able to break contract and stop paying, because the gym is unable to provide the service. Some gyms are very unhappy about this. They actually make a lot of money from people in contracts that don't actually ever go so this is great for those people!

I guess the same goes with schools, if they can't provide a service, well....

Schools are still providing a service, the teachers are still preparing work and presume are still available by email.

Gyms aren’t charging anyone, they legally can’t, I do not know a single gym that is currently charging members. All the gyms I know within 50km of me have all said if you have prepaid the full year membership or 1/2 year the months they are closed you will be credited for on reopening. Everyone else is on hold and will receive an email when memberships will be started to be charged again.

Edited by #YKG, 06 April 2020 - 02:42 PM.


#10 tothebeach

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:42 PM

By high feeing paying school, I assume that means the $30-$40K ones.   They can pay a teachers cost with the fees of 2-3 students.  

For those schools, you are paying for much more than the teachers.  You are paying for the facilities, the extra-curricular and the cohort - none of which you are getting now.  

All those schools have heaps of spare cash - they likely own lots of property all around the school.  

But they won’t reduce their fees - precisely because people will continue to pay it because they are afraid that their children won’t get in again.  

It’s this fear of not getting a place and exclusivity that drives their high fees in the first place.

#11 got my tinsel on

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:42 PM

But isn't that what private education is all about - not getting what you've paid through the nose for?

#12 KnightsofNi

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:46 PM

I can’t comment on the high fees school, but I do work at a cheaper private school. Teachers are loosing their jobs, there is talk of some schools simply not being there next year as fees are not being paid.

#13 liveworkplay

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:51 PM

As someone working at a high paying (for my area) independant school atm, I can tell you are staff are working harder then they usually do managing all of this. Mind you, our high school teachers are teaching classes to a modified timetable until lunch time and then are available to students individually in the afternoon. They are well and truely earning their money.

I am support staff and have just spend the entire day running an experiment for your year 12 kids, filming it, collecting data, taking photo's so that they can complete a prac write up at home.  So something that would take a 1.5 hour class for them to do and maybe an hour max of me getting gear ready, has taken the whole day!!

So yes, I do expect parents to continue paying their fees where financially capable as I expect to continue to get paid for the work I and my colleagues are doing.

It may look different, but schools are still providing a valuable service.

#14 Waterloo

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:52 PM

I think remote learning is tough for everyone- students, teachers and especially parents!   Are your kids teachers following up late work, or responding if the kids send emails with questions?

I’m not sure that you could pull kids out for the rest of the year - I thought most private schools needed one full semester’s notice.

#15 Gumbette

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:52 PM

DD school is set up to teach via microsoft teams - same teachers & classmates all sitting in a virtual classroom.  So far it's been working great.  She logs on at 8.30 am every day in her school uniform.  Breaks are at the same time as if she were physically at school.  Finishes at 3.00 pm.

I wouldn't expect any sort of discount, teachers still need to be paid, grounds maintained.  They did email to let us know there will be no charges for activities obviously.  They didn't ask for this situation either.

Edited by Gumbette, 06 April 2020 - 02:55 PM.


#16 liveworkplay

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:56 PM

We got a letter from the catholic school my kids attend. There is the usually fee relief for those struggling and they reassure everyone that no child will be denied an education at their school because of  financial hardship (which has always been the catholic ethos) but they did inform people that their government funding goes to pay staff wages and the school fees go to pay bills such as utilities, loans, resources and such. They said any extra is saved for building works which is not going to happen this year as they will redirect those funds to people who need help and that they are not planning on having any extra to "save" for the foreseeable future due to the impact of all of this.

#17 Ruf~Feral~es

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:58 PM

One of the high fee schools in Perth has apparently decreased term 2 fees by 20%.......

I'm not expecting a reduction in fees, and personally, I'm happy with the amount of schooling my 2 high schoolers are doing.  One is 'normal' timetable of classes, all online. Each teacher is there for every lesson, and sport has become PE - education rather than outside running around stuff.

DD (yr 11) also has normal classes, but they just log in at the beginning, and then get on with set work - the teacher is there on call for the whole period though.  And apparently next term there will be actual virtual classes.

Music lessons are also happening one/one via Teams or Zoom.  DD even did a vocal lesson on Saturday, as that was the most quiet time her teacher could access a studio at the school for all her students.

I would also hate for some of the teachers, let alone the support staff and others at the school to be losing their jobs.  I'm happy to keep paying, although I would be happy with a discount too.  And I'm sure they are taking a hit from the parents who have lost their jobs.

#18 MerryMadrigalMadge

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:59 PM

Yep i got the same letter from DD's local Catholic primary.

I hear that the Catholic education building loan area is working overtime to help schools who are anticipating that they won't be able to make loan repayments in the short term.

#19 EsmeLennox

Posted 06 April 2020 - 02:59 PM

Cry me a river.

#20 *Marty*

Posted 06 April 2020 - 03:01 PM

View Postdaybreaker, on 06 April 2020 - 01:58 PM, said:

My 3 kids are at high fee private schools in Sydney.  They are all now learning from home and the primary school kids do about 2 hours of work a day only.  There is more work set but it is sport, music, languages or other not so important subjects and as I am also working from home part time and they're quite unwilling this is all we manage.  The high school child does his set schoolwork for most of the day but there is very little actual teaching going on.

With so little work going on for the primary school kids I don't feel like I'm getting value for money paying such high school fees! Am I the only one feeling like this? I understand that they still need to pay the teachers but I'm the one teaching (there are no Zoom classes), there are no facilities or co-curricular happening obviously.  I honestly feel like I could teach them the important points myself for the rest of the year using internet resources.  Of course, if I withdrew the younger 2 the problem is they may not get a place again next year.

I think the schools should be at least reducing the fees for this year but that's not going to happen. Anyone else feel the same?

daybreaker, I cant really comment about whether or not you should have your fees reduced or not - A pp makes a good point that I high fee paying school could probably pay for a teacher's wages with a small handful of students!

But.......

You can only get your primary students to do a couple of hours work a day, your high school student has set work plus you are working part time and I assume finding their reluctance difficult to manage.  So I ask you, how would you manage  teaching them the important points yourself for the rest of the year using internet resources.

Do you know WHAT to teach them?  Do you know HOW to teach them.  I am sure you didnt mean top be so condescending about the skill set of teachers.  Perhaps this is what you are now paying for.  Why cant your children continue with their music?  At least practice each day?

#21 Amica

Posted 06 April 2020 - 03:05 PM

View Post#YKG, on 06 April 2020 - 02:41 PM, said:

Schools are still providing a service, the teachers are still preparing work and presume are still available by email.


The OP said her school is not providing a service, and if they are, it is minimal. You are putting words in the OPs mouth. She didn't say any of the above... and she doesn't feel the high fees that she pays now reflect the education that is being provided.

Edited by Amica, 06 April 2020 - 03:07 PM.


#22 Jane Jetson

Posted 06 April 2020 - 03:07 PM

Certainly not. We're in this for good teachers, pastoral care and the fact that the DDs need scaffolding (ADHD), and I feel we're still getting all those and more. So DD1 can't go to choir or use the tennis court, she'll live.

Both schools have done a bloody good job in sorting out remote learning, and the outreach has been great. Which is good, because I'm a sh*t teacher who's extra busy at work (from home) right now.

Even if they hadn't done this good a job, I don't want those teachers and support staff losing their incomes because the school can't pay them just because parents get snotty about school looking different now. If we can keep paying, we're happy to do so.

#23 Moukmouk

Posted 06 April 2020 - 03:10 PM

DD is at one of those schools. Their response to this has been amazing. Full on line platform, classes, homeroom teacher ringing every parent to check in on student wellbeing. Completely worth the fees, even if some things aren't running as normal. DS is at the little local catholic school. His incredible teacher (who is still on casual contract) has put together a great timetable and different activities, and is always on her email. This is a strange time for everyone. I don't want anyone to lose their job due to this.

#24 can'tstayaway

Posted 06 April 2020 - 03:14 PM

View Posttothebeach, on 06 April 2020 - 02:42 PM, said:

All those schools have heaps of spare cash - they likely own lots of property all around the school.  
ROFL  Do you run a business?  Understand cash flow management?  

There are very few schools in this country that is a ‘for profit’ business.

My children attend high fee schools and no, I do not expect a discount or refund during this time of online learning.

#25 daybreaker

Posted 06 April 2020 - 03:14 PM

View Post*Marty*, on 06 April 2020 - 03:01 PM, said:

So I ask you, how would you manage  teaching them the important points yourself for the rest of the year using internet resources.

Do you know WHAT to teach them?  Do you know HOW to teach them.  I am sure you didnt mean top be so condescending about the skill set of teachers.  Perhaps this is what you are now paying for.  Why cant your children continue with their music?  At least practice each day?

Although my high schooler isn't getting much actual teaching he is getting a lot of work to do and I'm not as unhappy about his fees as the younger two. As they are quite young, I don't think I would find it hard at all to set English and Maths tasks (sourcing worksheets from the web) as that is pretty much all they're getting anyway. Plus I'm a pretty good speller, writer and mathematician myself so could certainly teach them at their level. (I'm teaching my high schooler his maths so I need to be).

I'm not being condescending about the teachers at all, never said they're not any good or don't deserve to be paid but 2 hours of work a day isn't the same as sending them for 6 hours. The music set is sing a song for example and the sport is do some exercises for 10 minutes.

It's just that finances are a stretch for us at the moment and I'm really wondering how I'm going to pay the fees and this caused me some angst about value for money.




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