T3a Online Teaching Contract (adult students)
Updated: 20 July 2023 | 10:39 AM
T3a Online Teaching Contract is a contract designed to support those teaching students over the age of 18 online.
As well as the contract, this page provides guidance and advice in relation to contract T3a (adult students) and applies to self-employed music teachers providing ‘private’ lessons online via video link.
T3a is intended for students over the age of 18 - if you are looking for a contract for students under 18 please use the T3 contract.
Please note that the contract is intended to be used as a template which may as appropriate be adapted by teachers to fit their specific circumstances - it is not a one size fits all document.
Please take the time to read the guidance for Contract T3a.
Guidance for Contract T3a
This guidance shall not constitute legal or other advice from us to our members and we strongly recommend that members seek their own independent legal advice to ensure that the contract is adapted appropriately. The MU is not responsible for any liabilities or losses incurred by our members as a result of their use of the contract.
Whatever work you do as an instrumental/vocal music teacher, it should be covered by a written contract or agreement. This provides a degree of protection for you and sets out the terms and conditions by which your relationship with your customer is governed.
What do you need to take care of when teaching music online?
For all your work make sure you:
- Have a policy for missed lessons
- Have contact details for all your pupils, or their parents or carers
- Set a notice period for students to inform you when they are moving on
- Keep copies of all your contracts
- Keep to the terms of the contract – issue invoices on time and give good notice of changed or cancelled lessons. This will encourage your pupils to keep to their side of the agreement
- Include a cancellation policy
- Check the MU’s recommended minimum rates for private teaching and workshops
- Give sufficient notice of when you plan to increase your fees (note, it’s better to increase fees by a small amount each year, rather than in one occasional big jump)
- Have a system for who enters students for exams and when
The first page of the contract contains various blank spaces which should be completed with the appropriate details, including details of the teacher, student and lessons (e.g., length, frequency and price).
This agreement is intended to roll-on until it is either terminated by the guardian, adult student or teacher, having given adequate notice in writing – see clause 1.5.
Whereby it is agreed
Please specify the lesson duration and whether it is weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc., and the venue for lessons.
Insert your fee for the lesson itemised above and whether this is payable using cash, cheque or bank transfer.
If you are not registered for VAT, you cannot charge it. Please refer to the MU’s guidance on VAT and consult your tax adviser or accountant.
Stipulate your cancellation notice period. The average notice period is six weeks or half a term. Anything longer than this is unsustainable and may lead to payment disputes.
Make it a habit to increase your fees annually in line with the cost of living. This avoids disproportionate increases in the future. The period of ‘written notice’ should be longer than the cancellation period (1.5), enabling customers to cancel lessons if necessary.
Cooling off period
By way of brief explanation, this is different to the cancellation policy and is a statement of a customer’s statutory right, under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2014 (‘CCRs’). Under the CCRs, guardians have the right to cancel the contract, without reason, for a period of two weeks from the date on which it is entered into. The CCRs apply to certain contracts between traders and consumers depending on the circumstances in which they are concluded. It is likely that the CCRs will apply to contracts for the provision of music lessons to private individuals, so the contract is drafted to account for that assumption.
The teacher should not give any lessons before the end of the two-week cancellation period, unless otherwise requested by the guardian/adult student and agreed by the teacher. If the teacher does not obtain this express consent, the student may, at any time during those two weeks, cancel the contract, and would be entitled to a full refund of monies paid to the teacher (irrespective of whether the teacher has actually provided lessons). If the guardian/adult student gives their express consent and cancels the contract within the two-week cooling off period, he or she will have to pay for any lessons provided by the teacher.
The CCRs also require teachers to provide guardians with certain information before signing the contract. By filling in the first page fully and accurately, teachers will have met most of these obligations (the terms of the contract itself also deal with many of the information requirements).
One piece of information that is not provided within the contract, however, is detail of any complaints handling policy. If the teacher has such a policy, the guardian/adult student should be informed in writing, including detail of how the procedure works. In addition, if the teacher acts on behalf of another body or person (a company, for example), the guardian/adult student should be provided with the address and identity of that body or person.
It is crucial that the guardian reads and signs the contract before lessons are provided. Failure to inform the guardian in writing of the cooling-off right means that the ‘extended’ cooling off period will apply, and the guardian/adult student will be able to cancel the contract at any time within one year and 14 days (and receive a full refund of any money paid to the teacher) from the date that it is entered into (or 14 days after the teacher tells the guardian/adult student of this right if earlier).
The teacher is also required to provide the guardian/adult student with instructions on how it can cancel the contract during the cooling-off period. A model cancellation form is included with the contract and should be given to the guardian/adult student before he or she signs the contract.
This may sound somewhat hard, and you may wish to exercise some flexibility from time to time. However, it’s important to set parameters and keep to them – after all, your time is limited.
Issuing a credit note for a missed lesson, when the guardian has paid in advance, is good practice and avoids disputes later on. A credit note should consist of:
- Your name and address
- The parent’s name and address
- Unique reference number
- Date of issue
- The original invoice number and date
- The total being credited
- Reason(s) for the credit note being issued
This applies to the teacher as well. If you are unsure of your legal obligations regarding copyright, please refer to our guidance on Copyright for Teachers.
This is often overlooked by private teachers until it’s too late. The Important Information section should be a pre-requisite to lessons starting. Don’t be shy to discuss any concerns identified with the guardian/adult student and if necessary, contact your regional MU office for further guidance.
Data protection and privacy cannot be ignored. Breaches of data protection could lead to substantial fines. For training, guidance and advice, visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website.
Space and equipment
If you do loan equipment, be sure to have an agreement in place setting out:
- Parties to the agreement
- Loan period
- Return policy
- Current condition
- Invoicing and payment
- Damage and theft policy
- Repairs and maintenance
- Any restrictions – travelling outside UK
Please refer to our guidance on copyright for teachers.
Please refer to our guidance on safeguarding for music teachers.
Please contact the MU’s education department for DBS clearances: firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope that any clauses not included in this guidance are self-explanatory.