Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

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hometeacher
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Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby hometeacher » Thu May 14, 2020 6:50 pm

It is very apparent that during the current COVID19 crisis nothing different is being offered between state and private schools. Both are using a variety of online platforms and trying their best to help and educate children as much as possible. Teachers and parents all deserve medals, both have been thrown into such difficult circumstances and doing their best. What we do not agree to is the way the one private schools is treating their current parents and the 50 staff that have been furloughed. Our children are currently at this school and I am now considering moving them elsewhere due to the treatment received. I will state that I have been a content parent up until last year but feel that the current school has now gone too far in their treatment towards parents. It is well known that all private schools have been offered discounts and we believe these are as follows:
Eaton House - 30% reception, 20% class one onward
Finton House - 25%
Hornsby House - 25%
Thomas’s - 20%
Wetherby – 20%
There are many more schools outside of London offering a huge 40-50% discount during this time.

Our school Broomwood Hall/Northcote Lodge which is part of the Northwood Schools has been offered a miserable 12.5% and despite a huge percentage of parents writing to the owners/head (individually and via classes) nothing has been changed. There are a few parents sitting on the fence as they worry about causing trouble for their children and long for that head girl/boy role. Is the lack of a generous and thoughtful discount due to greedy owners and shareholders of a privately owned school? A letter was sent to parents at the end of April from one of the owners. The letter, the first from the owners during the COVID19 crisis, was not to ask how everyone was or what the school was going to do to assist many parents who have lost jobs and had huge cuts in their wages. It was however, to announce the appointment of a new CEO who will start his role in April 2021. Looking on one would think that the school would have been keen to avoid a second PR disaster, after the way they handled the future closure of Garrads Road as a junior school last year. Dropping a bombshell on current parents and forgetting to include new parents in their correspondence to start with. The owners, quite frankly were and are appalling and have become a joke. Great news on the CEO however, it was pointed out that they ‘will still be very much around’ – bad news! This week’s update was from the ‘Finance Director’ of Northwood Schools trying to justify why the offer of a 12.5% discount would not be increased at present. The current discount was in fact costing the school money (or should that be “profits”) as any further cost cutting would “impact management and shareholders, in order to give parents the biggest possible rebate”. Doing the math, the discount equates to Northwood Schools giving parents a refund of around six  days. I would like to add that the online resources being used are free, nothing extra has been done or added. Yes the teachers are working hard but the parents are having to supervise anything up to seven hours a day work online. As mentioned above 50 staff have been furloughed with zero contact from the school in the form of updates or other. Is this the way a school treats valued staff? We really like the head but all suspect that her hands are tied.  Perhaps those who are looking for future school places should take a look at how parents are being treated. It is all about their profit!
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chorister
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby chorister » Thu May 14, 2020 7:23 pm

I have absolutely no interest in this as we don't have children.  But I do suggest that you - or someone perhaps with an accountancy qualification - has a look at the Northwood Schools accounts filed at Companies House.  They are pretty comprehensive and transparent.

In the year to 31 August 2019 their profit after tax was about 5.8% - not excessive, and they will almost certainly be bleeding cash now.  They do have plenty of cash, because they seem to be prudently and conservatively run.  They don't seem to pay excessive dividends, leaving most of the profit in the business.  Directors' remuneration was £42,000 - very modest.  The school company does not however seem to own the freehold of any property, and a large lease cost is charged every year, presumably going to the freeholder.
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daddydaycarerocks
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby daddydaycarerocks » Thu May 14, 2020 8:35 pm

Hornsby is actually only 20% according to friends that are there.


It looks to me that the Heads could have all got together and agreed on this figure - for the service they provide, 40% would have been a fairer figure (and Reception should be free, its pointless)
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hometeacher
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby hometeacher » Thu May 14, 2020 10:25 pm

Chorister - if you have no interest in this post you have gone to a lot of trouble to look at the schools accounts!

Firstly, the buildings are owned by the owners of the school and secondly I do have a decent understanding of the accounts. Perhaps you didn't notice that the 'Shareholders Funds' stands at £6,766,433.00  the shareholders funds refers to the amount of equity in a company, which belongs to the shareholders. The amount of shareholdersfunds yields an approximation of theoretically how much the shareholders would receive if a business were to liquidate. 
There were newly appointed Directors last year; one being the daughter of the owners, the other the new finance director.
I could go on with lots of other figures but I think that everyone can make their own minds up.
 
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hometeacher
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby hometeacher » Thu May 14, 2020 10:35 pm

daddydaycarerocks wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 8:35 pm
Hornsby is actually only 20% according to friends that are there.


It looks to me that the Heads could have all got together and agreed on this figure - for the service they provide, 40% would have been a fairer figure (and Reception should be free, its pointless)
Thanks, friends mentioned 25% at Hornsby. To be honest 20% is still a brilliant saving to be given without parents even having to ask. We would have been happy with that instead of 12.5% and we will see what happens after half term. 
I agree that the heads getting together would have been a wonderful solution but sadly when some schools are privately owned the directors step in and make these decisions leaving the heads to pick up the pieces. If I was the head I would be off elsewhere as this is the second PR nightmare that she has had to deal with in the past year.

I agree that reception is pretty pointless as far as what can be achieved in home schooling and despite the teachers efforts. I think most parents would be happy to cover basic costs and pay something. Yet our school has offered the same as the rest of the school. It is appalling, even some nurseries are offering 50% with work being sent homes in packs each week. 
 
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chorister
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby chorister » Thu May 14, 2020 11:09 pm

Sorry, I was trying to help.

I only skimmed the accounts, I didn't go to "a lot of trouble".  Why is it an issue that the owners own the buildings?  Don't you think that they should receive a return on those assets?  You can only judge whether the return is reasonable if you know the value of the assets.  I did notice the shareholders' funds - if you had a clue what you were talking about you would know that that level of shareholders' funds was actually a sign of a prudently and well run business - most private companies strip out the shareholders' funds by paying dividends.
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hometeacher
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby hometeacher » Fri May 15, 2020 7:14 am

chorister wrote:
Thu May 14, 2020 11:09 pm
Sorry, I was trying to help.

I only skimmed the accounts, I didn't go to "a lot of trouble".  Why is it an issue that the owners own the buildings?  Don't you think that they should receive a return on those assets?  You can only judge whether the return is reasonable if you know the value of the assets.  I did notice the shareholders' funds - if you had a clue what you were talking about you would know that that level of shareholders' funds was actually a sign of a prudently and well run business - most private companies strip out the shareholders' funds by paying dividends.
I mentioned who owned the builders as your first post said that the school would have huge costs for leasing the buildings - hence my explanation.
Yes it is always wise to keep money in the shareholders fund especially when one wishes to sell the school!
 
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chorister
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby chorister » Fri May 15, 2020 8:41 am

OK let's leave it - the issue isn't who owns the buildings, but what they are worth (ie whether the lease costs are a reasonable return on the value), whether they are mortgaged etc
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NVHusband
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby NVHusband » Fri May 15, 2020 9:04 am

@ Hometeacher -

Your first ever post on NV is purely to slate/ criticise something you disagree with. If you had been an active member or contributing to NV over the last few years, I’d be a little more sympathetic. 

You are also behind an anonymous account... the victim of your post doesn’t have the same luxury.

Noting the tone of your responses, you get very defensive to any poster who disagrees with you or provides some form of challenge.

Also, according to your post, any parent not agreeing with you are eyeing the head boy/ girl role. You are very dismissive or belittle their motives.

Whilst I appreciate that you are angry or frustrated at managements (lack of) actions, there are more constructive ways of resolving these issues. The staff furloughed could be for very justifiable reasons (ie. admin, facilities, teaching assistants, PE teachers, etc) - you simply don’t know the details. The above post is one side view and you have made them quite clear.

Unfortunately, you are trying to poison the water for the future parents, manifest a hostile environment for current parents and damage a business that could put a lot of jobs at risk when this pandemic is over. Whilst your rant is a quick 10 minute post, the damage could be more long lasting. Maybe it’s best for everyone at Broomwood if you did leave the school. 
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hometeacher
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby hometeacher » Fri May 15, 2020 9:31 am

Thank you NV husband. This is indeed my first post, I have never felt the need to join before.
My wife uses the website and we all have to start somewhere.
Perhaps the school should have thought about their actions towards parents and handled the situation like other schools. Ignoring parents emails and letters is equally not responsible.
We can all do our own research and form our own decision which I am sure others will.
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LP73
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby LP73 » Fri May 15, 2020 9:40 am

We decided to not take a place last year due to the way that parents were treated.
The very poor reduction speaks volumes really.
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Thefridge
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby Thefridge » Sun May 24, 2020 10:13 am

I guess the question is why is the school only currently offering a 12.5% discount on fees when other similar schools have offered 25-30%. These schools are businesses I get it but Northwood Seem out of kilter with the rest. Future perspective parents like me will no doubt take all these factors into consideration when making our choice when the time comes.
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Siamese
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby Siamese » Tue May 26, 2020 6:23 am

My understanding is that they offered a 12.5% discount immediately - not as a rebate on next term’s fees like some schools - and that they stated that they’d offer another ‘substantial’ discount should the schools not go back after half term (how that works with some year groups going back and others not is anyone’s guess!) The amount seems reasonable - assuming that another ‘substantial’ discount is also another 12.5% then that would be a 25% discount which is more generous than others. That’s a big hit for a day school. Most boarding schools are offering about 30% - and that’s mainly boarding costs.
It’s really tough but I guess they need to balance how to be fair whilst also keeping the schools going so there’s something to come back to...
My friends tell me that Thomas’s haven’t refunded anything yet? Is that true?
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Greyskies
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Re: Greedy Owners Discount (Or Lack Of) for Private School

Postby Greyskies » Tue May 26, 2020 11:59 am

These schools are not charities. They are businesses. You knew that when you chose to send your children there.

As with all businesses, you have a choice as to whether to continue to support them or not. If you feel so disaffected it might be better to take your business elsewhere to one of the other schools you mention.  If enough customers vote with their feet,  the school will have to change tack.

I think it will be interesting to see what happens to the London private school market post Covid. I imagine many families who are suffering - and who will continue to suffer - financially in the next year or so- will be considering their options, particularly in the pre -prep sector. 
 
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