April 1, 2020

Update on Coronavirus – 01/04/20 at 15:30

Dear Parents,

Fees Update

You will be receiving your Summer Term bills shortly by email. If this doesn’t arrive today, don’t panic; it will be with you before Friday at the latest.

We have been listening to parent concerns about the rate of fees for next term and I am delighted to let you know that the trustees have agreed to reduce all bills to 80% of the basic fee. This is a 20% reduction to take into account the savings the school believes it is able to make. To do this, we have:

  • Put 22 staff onto furlough leave, in line with the government’s coronavirus jobs retention scheme
  • Looked at each budget line to identify what costs we will not be incurring whilst we are closed for example in facilities hire, energy savings, resourcing, catering, and buses to games lessons

Our budget still has essential costs:

  • Key staff – teachers and essential others (for example, 1 caretaker and 1 cleaner)
  • Key on-going annual costs, including licences

Unfortunately, these are our biggest expenses.

You will be aware that each independent school is a completely different business entity and we are not directly comparable either to bigger schools / chains of schools, or to those who have huge reserves. As a small school, with small classes, our margins are small and we have never made a hefty surplus, if at all. Fees are our only source of income and whilst our first focus is education and support, we have to ensure that for business continuity reasons, we generate enough income to pay our teachers and most essential costs. 

Clearly, all site developmental work is on hold. The roof is currently stalled as building supplies are not available but the on-going expense here is payable.

Please note, the bill will show the reduced fee at 80% of the basic fee – it will not show the itemised reduction as a separate component.

We are working hard to continue our educational and support services for all pupils to ensure they can continue to learn and to make progress including keeping in touch through the Easter holidays. We are holding training sessions with staff (online) to suggest how they can extend the provision to include some face to face tuition with the pupils to add more variety to the SatchelOne lessons.

The fee reduction is offered on our normal terms, payment on or before the first day of term. Anyone with an outstanding balance or disbursements for the current term will receive no discount on any balance brought forward and this is still payable as well. However, credits have been made for senior lunch passes and After School Club for those who have paid in advance for services – to cover the period of closure this term.

We hope that this gives some assistance to families who are unable to work and whose income is reduced.

I know we are all hopeful of getting back to school before the end of the Summer Term. If this is able to happen, we would have to send an additional bill for the 20% of the fee for the pro-rata weeks of term left to enable us to move back to full staffing. 

We have additionally agreed to hold the proposed fee rise for the September Autumn Term. Pending when we can reopen there may be adjustments still to be made.

Pupil Anxiety

Dr Lucy Russell, Clinical Director at Everlief, has written a useful guide on how to manage the anxiety and worry being caused by Coronavirus. Dr Russell has given free access to this guide, which we hope will be welcomed by parents, as it conveys a set of ideas of the things we can control, and actually that’s how we will take our families, our schools, and communities forward. It can be read here.

Easter Break

School is now closed (as at 16:30 Wednesday 1st April) for the Easter break and will reopen for children of key workers on 21st April. Please let us know your likelihood of pupil attendance and on which days, nearer the time.

All staff are still working, to keep in touch and upload resources if children wish to access these. But I remind you that their engagement during the holidays is voluntary.

I hope you are all able to ring the changes a little to make it feel like a different period of time for the children.


I have a few detailed emails from parents still to respond to directly. I apologise for the delay here. These will be done within the next few days.

My update briefings will become less frequent through the holidays but I will write periodically to update on general concerns expressed, on any change in government policy and to update Year 11 on the awarding of grades.

Quotations of the Day 

“A single arrow is easily broken, but not ten in a bundle.”  Japanese Proverb. (i.e. let’s work together)


“Come on, come on, let’s stick together” Brian Ferry

Keep following all government guidance about self-isolation/social distancing to protect those in your household. Keep well.

Mrs Pam Hutley