You mentioned that he had taken new books at the last lesson, MollyM. If the mother hasn't already paid for them, make sure you either get payment or get the books back. I had 2 families last year who suddenly stopped lessons and who still have books belonging to me, despite many reminders and requests for the books to be returned.
Posted 01 February 2019 - 12:03
Sorry to hear about this MollyM. I don't understand the mentality of these sorts of people.
That signed ISM/MU agreement is our protection against these sort of parents.
Stand your ground.
Posted 01 February 2019 - 12:33
I had 2 families last year who suddenly stopped lessons and who still have books belonging to me, despite many reminders and requests for the books to be returned.
This has happened to me a number of times, and I am still out of pocket due to non-returns. I still loan out quite a lot of books and keep a record of them, but more often I am asking parents to buy their own books these days.
Posted 01 February 2019 - 13:31
The ISM did a webinar about notice periods etc a while back. The legal advice was that it is fine to have a notice period (or to ask for fees up front without refunds etc), but that there is also a responsibility on the teacher to attempt to mitigate the loss. In particular, if you are able to start a new student in the outgoing student's slot, within the 10 weeks, then it would then be reasonable to refund the old family for any lessons from that point on - rather than essentially being paid twice for the same time slot. So that would be my approach to this - no refund for now, but when you're able to full the slot, then offer a refund for the remaining weeks. The other option would be to "invent" a notice period and say you'll refund, say half of the 10 weeks, but I don't know legally where you would stand with that. I do think 10 weeks is long for a notice period / payment in lieu, but if you don't have a specified notice period already, 10 weeks is currently all you have to go on! Definitely think about adding some kind of notice period into your Ts and Cs for the future.
Sorry you're having to go through this MollyM - these kind of situations are really unpleasant and being self-employed, we can feel completely on our own in dealing with them. Definitely second the advice of others to contact your union/body if you're in one, or to join one if you're not! (I've been very happy with the ISM.) I hope it's all over soon and you can have a lovely new student in the slot instead.
Posted 02 February 2019 - 05:34
Thank you all so very much. I have taken your advice BabyGrand and others - thank you. Given I have not stipulated a notice period in my T&C's, I felt in this situation, the best option is to offer a refund if/when I am able to start a new student in the outgoing student's slot - which I have offered in writing, and have wished them all the best.
I think that's the best outcome in this situation and of course I will update my T&C's - and I will only provide T&C's on enrolment... I clearly have been sending out this policy form at the start of the year, thinking it is a courtesy to parents, when in fact you've all made me realise it's just not necessary for ongoing students who are happily attending and enjoying their lessons.
So thank you for helping me! These situations, as unpleasant as they can be, do help to refine the business side of teaching... and make the T&C's just that little bit longer! When I first began teaching, I didn't have ANY T&C's for many years (!!!), and as each scenario has appeared (thankfully there have only been a few compared to how many hours of teaching I do and the number of students I have), I realised I needed structure in order to help me run an effective teaching studio.
I sincerely appreciate the support and wise words from those more experienced than I. And you're right BabyGrand, it can feel quite lonely sometimes as a private teacher, so thank you all once again for your lovely support x
Posted 06 February 2019 - 20:36
Was he better behaved on the weeks his mother wasn't in the lesson?
I allow parents to sit in lessons but sometimes children play up and sometimes they'd just rather be trusted to do this without a hovering parent.