Coronavirus: independent schools need ‘patience and generosity of parents’

ISC chairman says independent schools will be placed in a difficult position during the school shutdown

Independent schools will need the “patience and generosity of parents” to get through the challenges posed by the spread of coronavirus, the chairman of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) has said.

ISC head Barnaby Lenon told The Sunday Telegraph that independent schools are “in the same boat as everyone else to a certain extent” as the economic impact of the pandemic spreads.

The government announced on Wednesday 18 March that some schools across the country should close their doors, and by Friday 20 March all UK schools were advised to close.

Although classrooms are staying open for the children of key workers, most pupils are now using remote learning or being home-schooled. Boarding schools have been advised to support and accommodate those students who are unable to return to their family home.

Many schools are discovering that business interruption insurance provision does not cover losses as a result of the coronavirus – Tabitha Cave, VWV

The Department for Education has said it will provide financial support for private schools “as required” during the coronavirus crisis. The chief executive of the Independent Schools Association (ISA), Neil Roskilly, recently sent a letter to all ISA members which included “a full guide and template for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme”.

The Daily Mail reported that, according to Roskilly, some schools may consider freezing fees or offering partial refunds because of the school shutdown.

According to VWV, a firm specialising in educational law, most schools do not have insurance schemes that cover the impact of coronavirus.

“Many schools are discovering that business interruption insurance provision does not cover losses as a result of the coronavirus/COVID-19 (as it is not one of the specified diseases) but we are happy to help schools review their policy terms and liaising with ISBA about this.

“We are also continuing to explore options for schools in relation to the availability of funding and business loans that may become available. On Tuesday, HM Treasury and the Bank of England announced that it will be offering access to funding for businesses,” the blog by VWV’s Tabitha Cave reads.


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