b'FEATURED ARTICLEAdmissions Offices and Marketing Departmentsin the 2021 Independent SchoolIndependent Schools by their very nature are a complex business.T hey are a unique amalgam of a student body, athe days of relying on basic Enrolment Contacts do not fit parent body and a staff body made up of teachingwith Independent Schooling in 2021 and the environment and non-teaching employees.These bodiesin which they compete.Independent Schooling is each have competing interests which, at times, make forbig business and hoping that the warm and unique challenging situations. relationship that an Independent School has with a family will not cut it in circumstances where the amalgam Independent Schools also operate in an extremelyimplodes. competitive market with, it can be argued, their macro decision making processes frequently reflecting aRelevant clauses that reflect modern day sustainable business model that operates a school,Independent Schoolsas opposed to a sustainable schooling model thatThe provisions of Enrolment Contracts have evolved with operates a business.After all, it takes revenue to createsome pace over the last few years.In particular case law education-based opportunities and provide job security. (that is, law made by judges) has provided two decisions Of course the inconvenience and difficulties of COVID-19that ought to be finding their way into Enrolments have only added to the complexity of the amalgam andContracts.Of note, the 2019 South Australian Supreme have created situations that two years ago were reallyCourt decision of Whitworth v Christian Brothers College only in the minds of futuristic novelists.In short, anAdelaideprovided commentary on the debt recovery Independent School in 2021 is a vastly different placeimplications when an Enrolment Contract was interpreted from what it was 20 years ago. as being a series of annual contracts as opposed to a continuing contract.Enrolment Contracts should now, Admissions Offices and the 2021 Independentas a matter of practice, include a provision that expressly School provides for the contract to be continuing from the date Depending on the size and fee structure of anof its execution until the student leaves the school and Independent School, the annual fee revenue (whichnot a series of annual contracts that need to be agreed excludes State and Federal funding) can be anywhereto each year through correspondence between the school between $10M - $50M which is not an insignificantand parents. sum.It is fair to say that most businesses that have a similar annual revenue would use robust, and in certainThe High Court decision of Paciocco v Australia and circumstances, sophisticated contacts.Contracts thatNew Zealand Banking Group Limitedis also relevant to contemplate different situations and scenarios suchEnrolments Contracts so far as they relate to a schools as how and when they are formed, who exactly areability to charge a late payment fee or an insufficient the contracting parties (and what are their liabilities),notice of withdrawal fee.The decision sets out what the consequences of a breach, how they can beparties must do to ensure that these fees are interpreted terminated, the inclusion of indemnities, the implicationas a genuine pre-estimate of loss as opposed to a penalty.and applicability of Policies and how the contract canThis is important because at law, penalties are void and be varied are just some of the provisions that wouldunenforceable.ordinarily be present in many business contracts.Clauses which refer to the manner of curriculum delivery So, why should an Independent School with a similar(as a result of COVID-19), information capture clauses in annual revenue be different to businesses of a similarrelation to students with Special Needs and separated size that are not in the education sector?Put simply,families and vaccination clauses should all be considered as inclusions in the modern-day Enrolment Contract.50 FACE 2 FACE MAGAZINE'