Private schools warned not to over-react to coronavirus fears in case parents ‘demand money back’

Private schools are being urged not to overreact to the coronavirus crisis because parents will demand their money back if they close or send students home, MailOnline can reveal today.

Many of Britain’s independent schools ran ski trips over half term and several chose the Alps in Italy – Europe’s coronavirus epicentre where 12 people have died in the week.      

Typical private schools charge more than £100 per day per pupil and the Independent Schools Association say parents at its 500-plus member schools are likely to ask for a refund if their child’s education is disrupted.

The headteacher at Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s £19,000-a-year prep school, Thomas’s Battersea, is among the dozens who have shut or sent pupils home over infection fears after children and staff returned from virus-hit parts of the world.

The fee-paying Cransley School in Northwich, Cheshire, is shut all week after 34 pupils and staff skied in Lombardy last week with headmaster Richard Pollock ‘regardless’ of official advice from the Government that it isn’t necessary.

Princess Charlotte and Prince George’s school, Thomas’s Battersea, has sent students home in case they have coronavirus which could see parents demanding back £1,000-plus in fees per child

The £11,658-a-year Cransley School, a private school in Northwich, Cheshire (pictured) announced it will be closed for the rest of the week because of coronavirus fears - despite a Government warning to stay open

The £11,658-a-year Cransley School, a private school in Northwich, Cheshire (pictured) announced it will be closed for the rest of the week because of coronavirus fears – despite a Government warning to stay open

At least 13 schools have shut and 24 more have sent students or staff home after ski trips to Italy or half-term holidays to other hotspots

At least 13 schools have shut and 24 more have sent students or staff home after ski trips to Italy or half-term holidays to other hotspots

Cransley School charges its parents up to £11,658-a-year – so two weeks in isolation would cost parents approaching £900 in lost fees.

Neil Roskilly, Chief Executive of the Independent Schools Association, which represents 528 private schools told MailOnline: ‘Closing schools is beyond what is required at the moment in most cases although individual schools have to make those decisions independently.

‘There is a concern that parents might start asking for money back if their children miss too much school, although we haven’t seen this happening yet. We advise schools to follow the advice of Public Health England.’ 

Primary school in Derbyshire closes after a ‘confirmed coronavirus’ case 

The school's head Anthony Tierney was on site early this morning to deal with concerned parents. He confirmed that the gates would remain closed for the day. Pictured, the message that was sent to parents

The school’s head Anthony Tierney was on site early this morning to deal with concerned parents. He confirmed that the gates would remain closed for the day. Pictured, the message that was sent to parents

A British primary school has today closed for a deep clean after a headteacher claimed a parent caught the killer coronavirus that has infected more than 82,000 people as it continues to sweep the world. 

Burbage Primary School in Buxton, Derbyshire, told parents and carers about the case last night. However, health chiefs have yet to confirm if it is correct. 

Only 15 cases have been confirmed on British soil currently – all of them have been linked to the Far East and nobody has caught the illness in the UK.

The decision to close Burbage Primary School had been taken as a ‘precautionary measure’, according to a WhatsApp message sent to parents by headteacher Anthony Tierney.

The message read: ‘Dear parents and carers, due to a confirmed case of coronavirus amongst our parent population, Burbage Primary School will be CLOSED tomorrow (Thursday 27 February 2020) as a precautionary measure and to enable a deep clean to be completed. A further update will be shared tomorrow. Thank you.’ 

There are now dozens of schools shutting or sending pupils home over infection fears – even when nobody is showing any symptoms.

At least 13 shut this week, with six around the UK remaining shut until next week, because in many cases after pupils returned from skiing trips to northern Italy.

Another three will not reopen until tomorrow at the earliest, and at least 24 sent some pupils home as a precaution.

The refusal to let healthy children return to classes comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the Commons yesterday there was ‘no need to close the school’ or send children home in most cases.

On Tuesday, at least 18 schools sent pupils home as staff struggled to reconcile official advice with fears that some may have caught the virus on half-term ski trips.

The news came as it emerged last night that four children at Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s school were in self-isolation over fears that they could have been exposed to coronavirus.



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