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British school in Abu Dhabi backtracks on fee hike

British school has scrapped the added fees implemented this year after parents complain to Abu Dhabi Educational Council.

ABU DHABI // A school has announced it will scrap thousands of dirhams of extra charges it had asked parents to pay, after regulators ordered a refund.

In a memo to parents on Sunday night, Lesley-Ann Wallace, the principal at the British International School in Abu Dhabi, said families would only be charged tuition fees approved by the Abu Dhabi Education Council.

“As such, your customer account will be readjusted from the invoice sent to you recently,” the memo said.

“This re-credit will ensure that the fees you pay are compliant with Adec’s regulations and we will continue to work with Adec to strategise for the future to ensure fee structures support continued investment.”

The decision was welcomed by parents but Barton Jokinen, the father of a Year 1 pupil at the school, was concerned that no deadline had been set on the readjustment.

“There should be more transparency,” Mr Jokinen said. “I haven’t received any notice about the refund and they do not have a timeline about what’s going to happen. I’m not too happy with the school.”

The British International School in Abu Dhabi had said Adec was last year told of the 5 per cent tuition increase. But Adec said the increase was not authorised and ordered the refund.

The school had announced that this year it would impose a new maintenance charge of Dh2,000 for each pupil and a non-refundable entry fee of Dh2,500 for Year 1 and Dh9,000 for other grades.

“We have communicated with the school principal and asked her to stop the collections as further action will be taken against the school,” Adec said on Sunday.

Ms Wallace said the school’s intention had been “to add another 500 school spaces to meet the demand for school places in the city, and develop our second floor with additional premium and contemporary learning spaces”.

The final fee structure would be posted on the school website, she said.

“Now I think it’s fair,” said a mother of two, who asked not to be identified. “But I think I’ll be more happy if the school improves its level of academic excellence and instils student discipline.”

rruiz@thenational.ae

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