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BIS - Tuition Fees Reduction Appeal

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For the attention of:

Andrew Fitzmaurice – CEO of Nord Anglia

Anthony Rowland – Principal of BIS

April 15th 2020

Dear Messrs. Fitzmaurice and Principal Rowland,

Covid-19 Fee Reduction Appeal

We write in reference to the email from Mr Rowland sent on 10th April, 2020 in regards to the fee freeze for the 2020/21 academic year and the current position of BIS & Nord Anglia regarding fees and refunds for the 2019/20 academic year.

There is little that can be said that is not widely known and accepted in regards to the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy, both globally and locally, and the bearing that this has had on businesses and finances of those of us in the BIS community and further afield. This is not to mention the damage that has been wrought on our societies and the social development of our children.

We appreciate that in these unprecedented times many businesses have had to pivot, under difficult circumstances, in order to ensure the provision of services within the context of social distancing, emerging legislation and official guidance.

We, as parents, deeply appreciate the dedication, perseverance and flexibility of all the Staff and Teachers at BIS in their efforts to ensure continuation of education in the e-Learning environment & their engagement with the welfare of all students. This process has clearly been a steep learning curve for Teachers, Students and Parents alike and we welcome the effort that has gone on behind the scenes to enable this provision of teaching to occur and continue.

However, we do believe that the provision of the online learning material and student-teacher contact time has been significantly inferior to the level of education we have a right to expect from BIS and for our children. Furthermore, we believe and assert that the service that we have contracted BIS to provide to our children is not being delivered in it’s entirety and that there are significant reductions in the provision of the full education – a concept that has established precedence within commercial contract law and should be seriously considered in these circumstances. These include, but are not limited to, the lack of use of facilities and materials for Art, PE, Drama, Music and the ancillary services and facilities available to them in the usual course of schooling.

Our children have been absent from the BIS campus since the Tet holiday in January and this is look set to continue at least for the coming months. Over this period of time we have seen little action from BIS that has been taken with the best interests of parents and the BIS community in mind, in fact the actions that have been taken have been to reduce the operational expenditure of BIS alone – a situation that is made more disagreeable by the fact that many parents have paid fees in advance and as such a significant portion of BIS’s annual revenue and cash flow has already been secured. This model should allow you, as a school, to be more proactive in supporting parents through difficult and unprecedented times by holding a significant capital balance to help weather these black swan events.

It is frankly both incredulous and disappointing that BIS is seeking to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic and is choosing to act in a way that shows complete disregard for the concerns of parents. How does BIS justify this as fair and equitable for parents?

BIS is a successful for-profit school that has achieved healthy margins and growth for a number of years. This is vital to the long term investment and growth of education and we are all proud to support and play a role in this. However, we do strongly believe that preserving the short-term profitability will endanger the long-term benefits and value development available to BIS in supporting parents through this crisis. At present, BIS has chosen to continue to maintain a stance that is causing severe strain to its reputation and relationship with parents – this choice can be easily reversed and turn a negative experience into a highly positive one for all involved.

Furthermore, we have reviewed the commercial decisions of other schools – both locally & globally – in order to benchmark our expectations and ensure that our ask is reasonable and equitable for all. We note that a significant number of schools are providing fee discounts of 30% and that Nord Anglia itself has precedence for reducing fees, even in schools that have been affected for a significantly shorter period of time than BIS.

In light of the above we, the parents of BIS Students, are requesting a 30% discount in fees paid for the 2019/20 academic year to reflect the inferior e-Learning provision of education compared to the education we engaged with BIS to provide, the reduction in operational expenditure incurred by BIS and the engagement of BIS and Nord Anglia in supporting parents by reducing the profitability of BIS for the short-term in order to secure and maintain long term good-will.

Yours Sincerely,

The Parents of BIS

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