Creating contracts can be a challenging aspect of leading a school, it’s not easy to decide how much to specify in contractual terms. Below are some things to consider for inclusion in a school contract depending on your school and the policies and procedures you will provide families:
- Parties: Clearly identify the parties involved in the contract, including the name and contact information of the school, the student, and the parent/guardian.
- Enrolment Terms: Define the academic year or specific duration of enrollment, including start and end dates, as well as any conditions or requirements for initial enrollment and/or conditions for ongoing enrollment.
- Tuition and Fees: Specify the tuition amount, payment schedule, accepted payment methods, and any applicable fees or additional charges (e.g., registration fee, technology fee, extracurricular fees). Include details about the consequences of late or non-payment.
- Withdrawal and Refund Policy: Outline the procedures and timelines for withdrawal from the school, including any notice requirements. Clarify the refund policy, if applicable, including any non-refundable fees or costs.
- Some schools offer families tuition insurance aka tuition refund insurance which provides reimbursement coverage if a student suddenly withdraws from school for reasons outlined in the policy (dismissal, medical or mental health issues).
- Academic Programs and Services: Describe the educational programs, curriculum, and services offered by the school. Specify any limitations or changes that may occur, and clarify the school’s commitment to providing a safe, inclusive, and conducive learning environment.
- Rights and Responsibilities: Define the rights and responsibilities of both the school and the student/parent/guardian. This may include expectations regarding attendance, behavior, academic performance, participation in activities, compliance with school policies, and cooperation between the school and parents/guardians.
- Discipline and Code of Conduct: You may outline the school’s disciplinary procedures, code of conduct, and consequences for violations, and the school’s approach to resolving conflicts and handling disciplinary issues.
- Health and Safety: Address health and safety matters, including requirements for medical records, immunizations, emergency contact information, and permission for emergency medical treatment. Include any specific policies related to allergies, medications, or health conditions.
- Privacy and Confidentiality: Address the school’s policy regarding the collection, use, and storage of student data which can include use of personal photo, video images for social media or promotional material, as well as the confidentiality of student records and information in compliance with applicable privacy laws.
- Dispute Resolution: Specify the procedures for resolving disputes or conflicts that may arise between the school and the student/parent/guardian, such as mediation or arbitration processes. Identify the governing law and jurisdiction applicable to the contract.
- Amendments and Termination: Include provisions regarding the amendment of the contract, with a clear statement that any modifications must be in writing. Outline the circumstances, dates under which the contract may be terminated by either party, along with any notice requirements.
- Severability and Entire Agreement: Include clauses addressing the severability of provisions (i.e., if one part of the contract is found invalid, the remaining parts still apply) and stating that the contract represents the entire agreement between the parties.
While drafting a contract, you should consult with legal professionals or experts in education law to ensure compliance with local regulations and to tailor the contract to the specific requirements and circumstances of your school.