Recovering debt from parents: what to do

Use our step-by-step guide to find out how to proceed if a parent hasn't paid fees for things like school meals or trips. You can download our template letters to remind and warn parents when debts aren't being paid.

Last reviewed on 4 July 2024
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 6629
  1. Set out your expectations in a policy 
  2. Contact the parent to discuss repayment 
  3. If appropriate, consider introducing sanctions
  4. If appropriate, consider writing off debt
  5. Next steps you can take

The increased cost of living is affecting many schools and families, and you may be seeing more parents failing to pay for school lunches, trips and other costs. This is a difficult topic for schools and there's no easy answer.

You will need to be sensitive to personal circumstances when you communicate with parents about debt recovery at this time. However, it's still important that you're clear, so everyone knows where they stand. See our template letters further down this page.

Set out your expectations in a policy 

If they don't, they may still set rules on how to manage debts that you should reflect in your policy, so consult any financial scheme

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