Parents ‘declared bankrupt after failing to pay private school fees’, report says

The Telegraph is reporting claims that private schools are going to extremes to get bankrupt parents to pay overdue fees by taking them to court. 

Around 70 parents have been declared bankrupt after being chased for unpaid fees by a private education firm in charge of several independent schools, an investigation has revealed. 

According to Schools Week, Cognita – a firm which runs more than 30 private schools in the UK – has taken scores of parents to court since 2012, with debt sometimes reaching more than double the original amount owed. 

One mother who arranged to gradually repay £7,000 saw her bill rise to close to £19,000 after being pursued through the courts because the school added interest and legal charges, the publication revealed. 

It is understood some parents claimed they felt threatened and bullied by the debt collection tactics. Two even said they were unaware they had been made bankrupt. 

Cognita, which was founded and headed by the former chief inspector of schools, Sir Chris Woodhead, said that it supported a significant number of families in financial difficulty with bursaries and payment plans. 

Bankruptcy procedures were only pursued as a “last resort after all other efforts to secure repayment have proved unsuccessful”, it said…

More at: Parents ‘declared bankrupt after failing to pay private school fees’, report says


See the original article from Schools Week at: Parents bankrupt after chase for fees end up in court


I guess it is inevitable that this will happen in some cases if parents fail to pay what they owe, just like in any other area of debt collection.

Is it not odd, however, that parents would get into this kind of situation when there is normally a free state option available for their children’s education?

Your thoughts and reactions? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This has & will always happen but maybe increasingly so as media & DfE rhetoric on state education continues to be negative

  2. thepetitioner SchoolsImprove Cognita isn’t a charity, it’s a for-profit company.  It was set up by ex-Chief HMI Chris Woodhead as a ‘venture capital investment’.  In 2011, parents at a Cognita school accused Cognita of ‘milking’ the school for profit.  The company’s been hit with other controversies.  See here

  3. Dai_James1942

    SchoolsImprove People bankrupt themselves to avoid state ed. I’d bankrupt myself to save my kids having to attend academy at which I teach.

  4. TW

    Dai_James1942 SchoolsImprove  The obvious question would be whether there are any good teachers left in academies – many community schools have benefited from job applications from good teachers fleeing the academy nightmare.

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