Our school has a debt collection policy which we have devised as a fair and consistent way to address debt while protecting the children in our care.
Process for Addressing Debt
Central to our process for addressing debt is protection of the children in our care. The governors have decided that whatever the size of debt incurred no child shall ever be refused a meal at school.
Parents and carers should, however, be aware that failure to provide for your child’s meals could be construed as neglect and if this occurs the school will be duty bound to inform Social Services of their concerns.
The governors have decided that debt should not extend for any longer than a period of four weeks.
Week one: a phone call is made to the parent/carer reminding them that a debt has incurred and to request prompt payment.
Week two: a second phone call is made reminding the parent/carer that the debt has not been paid off and to request prompt payment.
Week three: a letter is sent informing the parent/carer that a debt is still owing and that if it is not cleared by the end of week four it will be transferred to Plymouth City Council debt collection service.
Week four: if the debt has not been cleared by the end of week four we reserve the right to refer it on to Plymouth City Council debt collection service. At this point you may be required to meet with the headteacher to discuss repayment.
Partial payment of a debt incurred shall not restart or interrupt the process described above. The debt still needs to be cleared in full by the end of week four or transfer to Plymouth City Council debt collection service will be made.
Support for families in difficult financial circumstances
If a parent/carer believes their difficult financial circumstances means they will be unable to clear their debt within four weeks we suggest they should make contact with our Parent Support Adviser – Lee Woodman. Our PSA will work with the family identifying challenges and signposting them to avenues of support. She will assess whether there are special circumstances that apply in which case the school may extend the repayment period or waive the debt entirely.
Our debt policy can be downloaded under ‘Policies & Information’.