knowledge universe preschools - Pat's, LV, Odyssey, Brighton

Looking for that infant/childcare, pre-school or student care with caring teachers or enrichments? Share your findings here.

knowledge universe preschools - Pat's, LV, Odyssey, Brighton

Postby jamestan197300 » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:10 pm

Dear Parents,
I am a first timer at Kiasuparents and would like to warn you all about Brighton constant fee increases.

My child attends Brighton Montessori International since N1 and within a short span of 2 years from N2 to K2, fees have increased from $800 in 2010 to close to $1,200 in 2012 before MCYS subsidy and GST for just half-day lessons. This represents an increase of $400 in 2 years or a 50% increase within a short span of 2 years despite a lower teacher student ratio in K2 compared to N2.

The school had increased school fees by more than $100 each time in Apr 2010, May 2011 and now planning to increase again in April 2012. Each time the school will cite higher cost of operations as reasons for fee increases. Whilst I understand that costs have increased, I am doubtful that it has increased by so much and there is a fair amount of profiteering and exploitation of the emotional bondage that our children have with the school.
There is emotional bondage because our children will have settled in the school and as much as possible we do not want to switch schools and that is precisely what these schools are exploiting, our emotional bondage.

In December, I received a note from Brighton about Knowledge Universe acquiring the Brighton and I did some research about Knowledge Universe http://www.kueducation.com

Knowledge Universe is a US company and foundered and chaired by Michael Milken. I extracted this information from Wikipedia about Michael Milken http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Milken and you can read about his reputation.

Knowledge Universe has acquired the following pre-schools in Singapore in the recent few years and based on conversations with friends at LV and Odyssey, they have increased their fees substantially.

1. Pat’s Schoolhouse
2. Learning Vision
3. Odyssey
4. Brighton Montessori

If Knowledge Universe acquires another 2-3 mid-end/high-end pre-school chains, they may have essentially created a semi-monopoly of the high and mid end segment and will be free to continue their drive to increase fees. Currently, a number of KU pre-schools are all in the same surrounding area, parents may have little choice but to fork out the fee increases if that happens.

Why are KU pre-schools and in fact some pre-schools free to do whatever they want with fees? It is because MCYS DOES NOT regulate the fees that these schools charge and allow middle income parents to be exploited by these schools.

There is frankly little that I can do and the school knows it. I can't take my child out in K2. But I will do the following:

1. Not put anymore of my kids, the 2nd or 3rd one at Brighton nor any KU pre-schools.
2. Urge everyone else to do the same
3. If you have not sent any kids to KU schools, I urge you not to unless you are willing to put up with incessant fee increases.
4. Write to the MCYS which I have done, I have written to Minister Chan Chun Sing and I urge every affected parents to do the same. Only if more parents put pressure, then will MCYS listen.
MCYS needs to do something to regulate fees in all private pre-schools and not just leave it to free market forces. We are not buying a toothpaste or shampoo here, when our child enters a pre-school, we are bonded for sometimes 3-5 years to it and it is not so easy to switch. It is no different from the private property market, if the government can regulate the private property market prices why not the private pre-school education market prices?
5. Urge MCYS to do something to prevent KU from buying more pre-school chains and allow for more competition

I would like other parents whose kids attend Pat’s, LV, Odyssey, Brighton to share their experience on fee increases and share their thoughts.

James

jamestan197300
YellowBelt
YellowBelt
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:14 am
Total Likes: 0


Re: knowledge universe preschools - Pat's, LV, Odyssey, Brig

Postby ConcernedDaddy » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:45 pm

Thanks for doing this research. Monopolising the high end childcare using different brands but same owner is a sly business move!

But I doubt MCYS will step in here especially as this affects only the high end of the market, and those parents will be least price sensitive. mCYS will probably focus more on the low to mass market.

ConcernedDaddy
OrangeBelt
OrangeBelt
 
Posts: 89
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 5:38 pm
Total Likes: 0


Re: knowledge universe preschools - Pat's, LV, Odyssey, Brig

Postby fatBobo » Thu Feb 16, 2012 2:55 pm

jamestan197300 wrote:Whilst I understand that costs have increased, I am doubtful that it has increased by so much and there is a fair amount of profiteering and exploitation of the emotional bondage that our children have with the school.
There is emotional bondage because our children will have settled in the school and as much as possible we do not want to switch schools and that is precisely what these schools are exploiting, our emotional bondage.
James


hi james,

thanks for the post & research.. i hv a pair of twins at LV.. and yes, due the numerous increase of fees we were slapped at.. hb & i are planning to withdraw them and change to another childcare.
just this morning, we brought our girls to the 'new' ctr to take a look and subsequently return to LV to cont their day activities there.

once our girls reach the centre, they were greeted so warmly by their frens (& teachers) there....and yes, this is the 'emotional bondage' you mentioned which is so hard for us to want to break it.

but.. i must say, i'm still not very happy with the increase! they just increased the fee for my T2 last nov or dec.. and now another $100 for my T1. $100 may seem a small amount, but for when you have to pay such monies for 2 kids, it can really stress us out!

i don't know now though.. cos seems like hb is reconsidering again... our girls have built quite a strong relationship with their friends of 1 year now.

i, myself, am afraid to make the wrong decision too.......

fatBobo
YellowBelt
YellowBelt
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 2010 11:02 am
Total Likes: 0


Re: knowledge universe preschools - Pat's, LV, Odyssey, Brig

Postby jamestan197300 » Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:49 pm

I sympathise with you, that's why I started this thread to warn people about this group of pre-schools and not get into the trap.

I guess if your kids are still small, maybe N1 or N2, I think it should be fine to change the schools. But if older, it will be more difficult.

Let me warn you further about Brighton. The founder Connie may seem to be a friendly person, all warm and nice. But honestly, I think she just wants to suck money from you, that's why she needs to be nice to you. Now she has partnered with Knowledge Universe, it will be worse, double blood suckers. It has already started, the moment Knowledge Universe came in, the schools fees increased again.

One other thing about the year end concert, she holds this year end concert every year. She charges bloody $60 per ticket and $50 per costume. She then hires all these security guards wearing black T-shirts with the words "SECURITY" at the concert to STOP people from taking photos or video filming the concert. WHY??? So that she can suck $4 per photo and $40 per video from the parents. This whole concert is just a money making scheme for her. I don't understand why the costs are so high, the venue is at NTUC auditorium which just costs a few thousands dollars, there are no additional costs, no food, the kids and teachers puts up the performance for free. She probably rakes in at least $10-20K profit for this event alone including the photos and videos and ticket sales.

Honestly, as parent I have tolerated this concert and the last 2 fees increases. But this third fee increase, 3 years in a row has driven me to the wall. I will tolerate this for one more year because my kid is into K2 but I am not just going to sit down and do nothing about it.

Please tell your friends and families to read this thread if their kids are in any of these schools. Warn them about this group of pre-schools.

James

jamestan197300
YellowBelt
YellowBelt
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:14 am
Total Likes: 0


Re: knowledge universe preschools - Pat's, LV, Odyssey, Brig

Postby Knowledge Universe » Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:06 pm

Dear James,

On behalf of Knowledge Universe, we note your concerns and views regarding fee increases at one of our preschools - Brighton Montessori. We need to share that the decisions to increase fees are never taken lightly. The majority of any preschool's operating expenses go towards the teaching staff and facilities (rent and maintenance). We also firmly believe in ploughing investment back into upgrading the school's facilities, curriculum development and learning resources for the children. We also continuously invest in teacher training and personal development. Almost all our preschools have been renovated or upgraded in the last few years, and we know parents appreciate the improvements to the facilities made, and how they have enhanced the quality of the services we provide to the children. Recently two of the Brighton Montessori centres have been refurbished, with the third due to be completed by the middle of this year.

These investments are reflected in the fee increases, and only by continuing to do so ensures that we offer the best-in-class experiences in early childhood education for our children and families over the long run. We trust you agree that the early years are critical in setting the stage for a child’s learning and standards should not be compromised.
Our teachers are also totally dedicated to nurturing and caring for the children – always from their heart, and not because they have to.

We would be happy to discuss this further with you and address any questions or clarifications you may have. You can email us at feedback@kueducation.com and we will be in touch with you to arrange a mutually convenient time to discuss your concerns.


Sincerely,
CEO
Knowledge Universe Singapore

Knowledge Universe
KiasuNewbie
KiasuNewbie
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:13 pm
Total Likes: 0



Re: knowledge universe preschools - Pat's, LV, Odyssey, Brig

Postby spud2345 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:29 pm

Dear Knowledge Universe.

My daughter has been attending LV for 2+ years now.

When I wrote in to express my concern about the fee increase last year and this one, I was told to expect further fee increases every year although the LV employee I spoke to said she didn't know how much it would be.
We've since decided to withdraw DD1 (DD2 who will start playgroup next year will also go to the other childcare) due to this.

You say that you "need to share that the decisions to increase fees are never taken lightly".

Well, we feel compelled to share that the decision to withdraw a child from the childcare she's grown accustomed to is never taken lightly either.

To put it simply, at $1,200/child (before MCYS subsidy and enrichment etc. costs), we've been priced out of LV, although we'd had loved to keep DD1 there and send DD2 there as well.

spud2345
KiasuNewbie
KiasuNewbie
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:18 pm
Total Likes: 0


Re: knowledge universe preschools - Pat's, LV, Odyssey, Brig

Postby toddles » Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:54 pm

spud2345 wrote:Dear Knowledge Universe.

My daughter has been attending LV for 2+ years now.

When I wrote in to express my concern about the fee increase last year and this one, I was told to expect further fee increases every year although the LV employee I spoke to said she didn't know how much it would be.
We've since decided to withdraw DD1 (DD2 who will start playgroup next year will also go to the other childcare) due to this.

You say that you "need to share that the decisions to increase fees are never taken lightly".

Well, we feel compelled to share that the decision to withdraw a child from the childcare she's grown accustomed to is never taken lightly either.

To put it simply, at $1,200/child (before MCYS subsidy and enrichment etc. costs), we've been priced out of LV, although we'd had loved to keep DD1 there and send DD2 there as well.


:goodpost:

It's much easier to raise fees than to pull a child out of a centre she has grown used to.

toddles
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:04 pm
Total Likes: 71


Re: knowledge universe preschools - Pat's, LV, Odyssey, Brig

Postby toddles » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:02 pm

jamestan197300 wrote:
Write to the MCYS which I have done, I have written to Minister Chan Chun Sing and I urge every affected parents to do the same. Only if more parents put pressure, then will MCYS listen.
MCYS needs to do something to regulate fees in all private pre-schools and not just leave it to free market forces. We are not buying a toothpaste or shampoo here, when our child enters a pre-school, we are bonded for sometimes 3-5 years to it and it is not so easy to switch. It is no different from the private property market, if the government can regulate the private property market prices why not the private pre-school education market prices?
....
I sympathise with you, that's why I started this thread to warn people about this group of pre-schools and not get into the trap.

I guess if your kids are still small, maybe N1 or N2, I think it should be fine to change the schools. But if older, it will be more difficult.

Let me warn you further about Brighton. The founder Connie may seem to be a friendly person, all warm and nice. But honestly, I think she just wants to suck money from you, that's why she needs to be nice to you. Now she has partnered with Knowledge Universe, it will be worse, double blood suckers. It has already started, the moment Knowledge Universe came in, the schools fees increased again.

One other thing about the year end concert, she holds this year end concert every year. She charges bloody $60 per ticket and $50 per costume. She then hires all these security guards wearing black T-shirts with the words "SECURITY" at the concert to STOP people from taking photos or video filming the concert. WHY??? So that she can suck $4 per photo and $40 per video from the parents. This whole concert is just a money making scheme for her. I don't understand why the costs are so high, the venue is at NTUC auditorium which just costs a few thousands dollars, there are no additional costs, no food, the kids and teachers puts up the performance for free. She probably rakes in at least $10-20K profit for this event alone including the photos and videos and ticket sales.

Honestly, as parent I have tolerated this concert and the last 2 fees increases. But this third fee increase, 3 years in a row has driven me to the wall. I will tolerate this for one more year because my kid is into K2 but I am not just going to sit down and do nothing about it.

Please tell your friends and families to read this thread if their kids are in any of these schools. Warn them about this group of pre-schools.

James


Thanks for the heads-up. Wasn't aware that all these schools were coming under one conglomerate.

Agree that this sector needs increased regulation by MCYS. At the least there should be some limits on the amounts and frequency of the fee increases.

From what I know, the bulk of the fees paid by parents to most childcare centres do not go to the teachers, but rather the franchisees / owners. Is that right?

toddles
KiasuGrandMaster
KiasuGrandMaster
 
Posts: 1351
Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:04 pm
Total Likes: 71


Re: knowledge universe preschools - Pat's, LV, Odyssey, Brig

Postby jamestan197300 » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:55 pm

Dear CEO of Knowledge Universe,

First of all, thank you for your reply. I wish you could have included your name so that I can address you properly.

Second, I think I have given enough feedback face-to-face for Brighton previously to consider and have no further wish to meet as it is futile discussion and a waste of both our precious times. I have previously reiterated my unhappiness on the second fee increase last year to Connie and she had noted it and one year on, the third fee increase came. Therefore, I realise that it is useless to give feedback when the organization only hears but does not listens. You can prove me wrong and show that your organisation KW does listen, these are the feedback for you.

1. KW has acquired Pat’s, LV, Odyssey and now Brighton. In most or all cases, there has been substantial fee increases whether there were school renovations or upgrades. Parents never asked for renovations and upgrades, frankly they don’t look any different before or after the renovation. Neither have the teachers changed substantially and I doubt you have provided them significant wage increases. This is a comment rather than a feedback.

2. Please do something about your customer loyalty program. There is obviously no value place on the organization on customer loyalty. The fee increases affect both existing students and also new students which is to say KW does not value customer loyalty. This is a feedback that you can take.

3. Brighton has increased school fees for the last 3 years in a row. Please confirm if there will be further increases in the next 2 years. Please do not use staff costs and rental as an excuse as the rental increase has already been mentioned in the last 2 fee increases. If you are willing to commit to this, I may just consider putting my second and third child there. This is another feedback for you.

4. Brighton’s school concerts fees are ridiculous, I can watch a rock concert for $60. Why are the photos are $4 a piece? Please reconsider the fees for the concert for the sake of the other parents. It is a clear sign of profiteering. What's with the security guards to bully parents into not taking photos? The security guards are there just to bully parents into paying exhorbitant prices for the photos and video. Even at a rock concert, I can take photos. Either you offer the photos and videos at cost price or either do away with the security guard and let the parents shoot their own pictures. Else this whole event reeks of profiteering to me. Please take this feedback seriously.

5. Lasty, KW and other affliates, please do NOT acquire any more childcare chains in Singapore else I will have to update the Competition Commission of Singapore and MCYS for possible anti-competitive behaviour. I am sure they will be interested if there is anti-competitive behaviour driving up costs for middle income parents who form a large part of the government's voter base and are increasingly disgruntle about the government's call in asking for more children and yet leaving parents at the mercy of private education centres.

I have given enough feedback and you can show whether your organisation KW listens or merely just hears but just brushes of the parents concerns. I look forward to your reply.

James

jamestan197300
YellowBelt
YellowBelt
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:14 am
Total Likes: 0


Re: knowledge universe preschools - Pat's, LV, Odyssey, Brig

Postby jamestan197300 » Mon Mar 05, 2012 10:02 pm

A type error:

3. Brighton has increased school fees for the last 3 years in a row. Please confirm if there will be NO further increases in the next 2 years. Please do not use staff costs and rental as an excuse as the rental increase has already been mentioned in the last 2 fee increases. If you are willing to commit to this, I may just consider putting my second and third child there. This is another feedback for you.

Regards,

James

jamestan197300
YellowBelt
YellowBelt
 
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 12:14 am
Total Likes: 0


Next

Return to Child Care, Kindergartens, Student Care