Summer holiday clubs: what’s the worst that could happen?

Hannah Parsons, solicitor at DAS Law, explains your rights when it comes to summer holiday clubs.

2nd August 2018

Schools are out for the summer leaving children across the UK overjoyed at the prospect of a summer of fun. But while the kids get to play, many parents are still away working through the hot summer months, so summer holiday clubs can be an ideal way to keep children occupied.

Parents entrust their precious children to the staff of holiday clubs and often expect a high level of care, professionalism and supervision - similar to what they receive when they are in school - but this may not always be the case.

What can you do if your child is being bullied while attending a summer holiday club? Can you request a refund if your child falls ill and has to leave early? And if your child gets injured while under the watchful eye of the staff, what legal action can you take?

Can I get a refund or partial refund if my child has to leave early due to sickness?

Whether you can get a refund will generally depend on the terms and conditions of the contract that you signed when you booked your child’s place at the club. It is not unusual that a cancellation by the parents for any reason will not result in a refund, as the club has had to organise staff, premises and activities based on the number of children who are booked in.

My child was injured whilst at a summer holiday club, what action can I take?

One of the biggest concerns for all parents is their child being injured. If this happens to you, the holiday club could be liable if there has been negligence on their part - for example from lack of supervision or a dangerous venue. Any injury could result in a personal injury claim that the parent or guardian could look to pursue through legal proceedings. If the club is regulated by OFSTED / Estyn, you could report the incident to them to investigate. Depending on the circumstances you may also be able to get a refund.

My child is being bullied at a summer holiday club. I have raised this with the staff but they have not helped; what can I do?

If the staff are not being supportive of your/your children’s concerns then the first step is to use the club’s formal grievance procedure and escalate your concerns to someone more senior.

Ultimately if the club fails to deal with any issues that you raise, then you can report any concerns to OFSTED/Estyn if it is regulated. You may also be able to argue that the club is in breach of any contractual promise that they have made to ensure your child’s physical and mental wellbeing and potentially withdraw your child from the club and pursue a legal claim.

The club has overbooked spaces so they have cancelled my child’s place at the last minute and I can’t make any alternative arrangements. What can I do?

If the holiday club is cancelled then generally a full refund should be given as the service you have paid for cannot be supplied. Be aware though that some clubs may have a clause within their terms which exclude refunds for cancellations for reasons beyond the club’s control.

If my child refuses to go to the summer holiday club, what can I do?

If your child decides he or she simply does not like the summer club you’ve paid for or agreed to pay for, you are not automatically entitled to a refund.  You should first check the terms and conditions the club has. However, if you can show there has been negligence or breach of contract, you may be eligible for a refund.

If the holiday club is cancelled then generally a full refund should be given as the service you have paid for cannot be supplied. Be aware though that some clubs may have a clause within their terms which exclude refunds for cancellations for reasons beyond the club’s control.

The summer holiday club hasn’t provided the activities they advertised, can I get a refund?

If a holiday club does not live up to you or your child’s expectations, then getting a refund may be difficult. If however, there were elements not provided or totally different from what was advertised, then you could argue misrepresentation or breach of contract and seek a refund or partial refund. Misrepresentation would occur if a person is told something factual or there is something factual advertised, and that fact induced you to enter into the contract with the holiday club, and it then later turns out to be untrue.  If the club then refuses the refund you could look to pursue legal action through the small claims court if the value is under £10,000.

Hannah Parsons

Legal Advice Manager, Solicitor

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