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Negotiating And Writing A Tutoring Contract - Articles Surfing

Many people sadly don't bother with this side of the tuition. Unfortunately, in doing so, they are leaving themselves open to potential problems both with the tutor over what is and isn't included and with organisations like the Inland Revenue.

Whether the tuition is for an hour a week or 6 hours a day, certain elements should still be recorded in writing. This need not be as daunting as it sounds.

The contract should split into 6 key elements.

Identifying the parties
The nature of the work
The timing and payment details
The status of the tutor
How the agreement can be ended
Coverage of anything that may forseeably go wrong
One rule of thumb you MUST adhere to - leave the 'legalese' to the lawyers. Keep the English simple with straightforward, unambiguous sentences.

Section 1

Make sure that the following are listed:

Name of Tutor ---------- (hereafter called the tutor)
Address of Tutor (why not include phone number - always useful)
Name of Student(s) ------- (hereafter called the student(s))
Age of Student(s) - if under 16
Name of Parent --------- (hereafter called the client)
Address of Parent (and phone number).
By using the phrase 'hereafter called ...' you don't need to keep repeating the names (and you can recycle the contract).

Section 2

State the subject(s) and level(s) being tutored

Section 3

Give the time and date of the first lesson, the intended frequency (if in doubt, write 'ad-hoc' or 'as required ') Say how much the tutor gets paid and when they will be paid (usually at the end of each lesson). If this is likely to be a long-lasting arrangement, you might like to include a date for a review of the tutor's fee - eg 6 months hence.

Section 4

In virtually all cases the tutor will wish to be considered self-employed however there is no automatic guarantee about this status being conferred on the tutor. Even at 1 hour a week, you could still be deemed to be employing the tutor with all that that entails - deduction of tax, payslips, sick pay etc. Although this is unlikely to cut a lot of ice with the Inland Revenue, there are a few simple measures you can take to safeguard yourself from this onslaught of paperwork.

Firstly include the phrase, "The tutor agrees to undertake this tuition on a self-employed basis and accepts full responsibility for his/her tax and insurance. The tutor promises to advise all relevant government bodies of any and all earnings arising from this tuition."

Secondly, do not dictate the timing, method of tuition or books etc to be used. This does not mean you don't get a say in the tuition, convey 'wishes' rather than appear to be issuing orders. A real 'acid test' of self-employment is the worker's right to do things in their own way but this does not mean they don't have to please their clients.

Section 5

The contract is not going to continue for ever. How would you like it to end? You need to cover both sides - if they want to stop or if you want to stop. Whatever you write must not be punitive. For example, you must not put "If you stop within 1 month of the exams starting, you must pay me back '100". Just keep it in the form -

"If the tutor wishes to stop the tutor must .... to the client"

"If the client wishes to stop the client must .... to the tutor"

Typically, you might choose to go for one lesson's notice or a note in writing or just a 'Thank you and goodbye' at the end of the last lesson. From experience, tutors like a week's notice so that they can say 'Goodbye' properly to their students (and vice versa).

Section 6

This section could go on forever but there are a few obvious contenders for inclusion.

If the tutor is coming to you, does the lesson fee include the travelling time? Are you paying for an hour and getting one hour of tuition (this is the convention)?

Does the lesson fee include all preparation time and costs? Again, does a one-hour lesson mean 60 minutes of tuition?

How much cancellation notice do you have to give the tutor before you are liable to pay them something? If they arrive on your doorstep and you have forgotten to cancel, how much should you pay them?

What about if they cancel? How much notice do you require? Be prepared to be 'humane' - not all 'situations' give notice and being overly-harsh is not a recipe for harmony.

Are there any 'plus-rates' for different days? (This is unusual - normally all times and days are the same price.)

Please note that the foregoing is very much a simplified contract ('99.9% of the time' arrangement) - it may not be suitable for use in all cases. If in doubt, seek professional legal advice.

If you are booking through an agency, part of their fees is to deal with the above on your behalf. Don't be afraid to ask them about their contracts and what is and isn't covered. If they seem uncertain themselves, this is not a good sign and you should consider another agency.

Enjoy your tuition!

Submitted by:

Damaris West

Damaris West is Managing Director of worldwide tutor agency Anysubject Ltd which she runs from the Italian office. Anysubject provides tutoring in all academic subjects, musical instruments and foreign languages. Visit the Anysubject website - http://www.anysubject.com or see the free guides section - http://www.anysubject.com/helpful-guides.asp



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