Last year I had what I thought was a BRILLIANT idea – I would save up for my children’s school expenses and pay for them in full immediately as the permission notes were brought home.

As a mother of eight, with five little ones attending school, this seemed like such a great plan. It really made sense! Of course, there would be unexpected excursions lurking around the corner of every term, but if I had already budgeted them into our finances it had the potential of making it so much less daunting.

Sure enough, the school managed to invent a new expense. They called it ‘Sports Pro’, it was EXACTLY the same as the standard sports day at school, except, you had to pay for it – and if you chose not to, then your child would miss out.

Now I’m not suggesting that it’s the school’s fault that they had to cancel the program. And they put a stop to it before it even started due to COVID-19.

It’s Cancelled!

Then they sent an email out empathising with the parents and stating that they would waive the fee for Sports Pro, due to the fact that they wouldn’t be going ahead with it, but also because they claimed they wanted to help parents out financially by not charging for something like that at a time when finances were so uncertain.

It makes sense no matter which way you look at it. I mean how could you charge people for a service which you were not going to provide…

I emailed them straight away to ask how they would be processing my refund and if the money could just be credited towards school fees – only to be told that I wouldn’t be receiving any form of refund or credit (as I had already paid)!


How could this be?! If it were any other organisation who had charged me for a service that they weren’t going to provide in any way, I would take the matter further. But this was my kid’s school. And I couldn’t very well start a drama of that magnitude and expect that my children wouldn’t be treated differently….my hands were tied.

Just thinking about how fake they were when they claimed to be cancelling the program to better care for the financial well-being of families from the school still infuriates me! If I had just held back the payment by two weeks I wouldn’t have been robbed of my money by the school!

Here’s the Advice…Don’t Pay Straight Away!

Like with everything in life however I am taking this as a lesson. Not everything has to be paid for immediately, there’s no panic to get these sort of things finalised and if they want to exclude any of my children for whatever reason, then so be it! But never again will they be receiving instant payment from me for anything!

I agree that things don’t always go to plan and especially during these uncertain times we need to be more flexible, understanding and willing to adapt to unexpected situations. However, what is the point of misleading everyone into believing that an organisation is being compassionate – when in fact they most certainly are not!

This Year Will Be Different!

No, this year I will be leaving all payments until the very last moment and if the school makes me feel uncomfortable in any way I will remind them of the unreasonable amount of money they have practically stolen from my children last year.

Don’t ever feel bad about making late payments, especially if there isn’t any extra interest to worry about. It’s better to pay for something late than have your money taken from you with absolutely nothing in return.

How do you usually pay school fees and expenses? Do you pay straight away or late? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • I pay in installments


  • I really hope your school eventually saw the light.


  • I pay small amount straight away.But wait for big ones until the due date.


  • If you paid for something and didn’t receive the service you should be refunded!


  • What!? Is this a private or public school? I work at a public school, and I know we always offer refunds when an event is cancelled!! I would 100% be perusing that money, and if it’s public school know that it has nothing to do with the teachers/students and your kids will not be treated differently. Many families don’t even pay the “compulsory” fees to begin with!
    Totally agree that Sports Pro is a rort anyway, unless that’s how they’re giving their teachers relief time. HOWEVER if that’s the case you shouldn’t have to pay anyway.


  • This is terrible. They can’t not give you your money back! I always paid school feels upon receipt of an invoice. I would pay monthly or fortnightly, but was in no way interested in paying in advance or giving them money before they should have it.


  • This is not right especially in COVID. I would take it up the line a bit.


  • Same with bills lol


  • I usually paid for the full year to get it out of the way


  • Wow, I agree with Ellen! Paid upfront in good faith for a Sporting event ‘Sports Pro’ that was cancelled and no refund. That’s not on! The school has got to refund/credit the money to you or put to wards your school fee’s. Since they seem fit to do this to you, you should do the same by paying the school fee LESS the so called NON-REFUNDED AMOUNT and then you are square. In business Fair Trade would not allow this if a service was paid for and not provided then a FULL REFUND is due. I think that the people who run your school are armatures and they need to be shown the way. In this case you have learned that pay as you go is a better procedure as their book-keeping procedures are incorrect and faulty. Do your own bookkeeping and underpay by the amount owed to you. Imagine the money they have raked in on this one event! Now where was that money spent? (I has a school who bought a $1700 Coffee Machine for the staff in a similar event. Nice try until Parent Group stepped in and asked questions who paid for this? I wouldn’t have minded if the library was fitted out with books and the computer-room was all decked out with safe cabling etc….)


  • I pay monthly for my child’s school fees.


  • It’s not right you didn’t get a refund for an event they eventually cancelled. I don’t say you should have made a drama, but I certainly think your hands weren’t tied and I would have followed up on this.


  • I always wait til the due date so I can still earn interest on my money for as long as possible


  • We pay by dates for many good financial reasons.


  • You know, I’m not sure what your school did is legal. Probably not worth actually seeking legal advice, but telling them you’re going to might change their attitude.


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