Tuition Terms and Conditions

Tutor Allocation

We reserve the right to allocate tutors to students and may need to change tutor from time to time. Different tutors may also provide cover in the event of sickness or absence. Additional or separate tutors may also deliver or sit in on lessons to monitor or shadow teaching from time to time.

Student Progress

It is important to note that whilst SMS will use the best endeavours to ensure the student makes satisfactory progress; this cannot be guaranteed. In particular, regular practice as advised by SMS is a prerequisite of success. It is for this reason we recommend students studying Grade 3+ to take 45 minute weekly lessons. We also recommend Grade 6+ students take hourly weekly lessons.



There are seven terms each year t which the student enrols; namely, the six half terms of the school calendar and the summer holiday (term seven). Other school holidays are taught by agreement.


Sessions are generally weekly unless by agreement.


At schools, if lessons are during school hours, they will often be rotating, so the same lessons are not missed each week. This is, however, a decision for the school. Private/after school sessions will typically be at the same time each week.


Frequency of Lessons

Weekly sessions usually give the best continuity, but if preferred, fortnightly/monthly (or any other arrangement) can be organised to suit your schedule.


Timetable Preferences

We will try and find a lesson time according to your timetable preferences. If this is not possible, we will suggest other times and dates where we can. Failing this, we have a waiting list and will let you know when a slot becomes available.


School-Based Lessons

Students taking lessons during the school day need to let their class teachers know.


Private Lessons

Private sessions use hired facilities at St Johns Academy (Marlborough) Mon-Fri, 3-8 pm. All students need to sign in/out at reception, and parents need to either sit in the room or wait outside.  Please park in the circular car park, not immediately outside the school reception. Lessons usualy take place in Room G144 or G146, music corridor.


NB: Parents of non-SJ children up to 16 years old need to attend; parents of SJ students who take private lessons after school do not need to attend.

Pairs and Groups

Paired/Group Tuition is possible, subject to the availability of suitable other students. Please note there may well come the point where rates of individual progress differ, at which point we would usually recommend learners continue separately.

Group Theory/Technical Sessions

On joining, and in addition to regular tuition, all our students become eligible to attend 2-3 Group Theory/Technical sessions each half-term. The scope of the sessions is technical/theory content, supplementing tuition. ​Not only beneficial, they also give a more comprehensive 'club' feel, the opportunity to work with others, and an extra element to tuition. We strongly advocate such social learning. All Group Theory/Technical students need to bring their usual lesson materials; drummers need to bring their sticks; guitarists/bass players need to bring guitars/leads; ukulele players to bring their instrument. 


Primary School Students: 2-3 group sessions are automatically timetabled each half-term, usually on the day of regular tuition. (Times/dates are shown on the timetable attached to each invoice)


St Johns Students: Once finalised (they are currently being planned), St Johns students will be able to attend 2-3 group sessions each half term, available during the school day (breaks/school lunchtime) and/or after school hours on weekdays.


Private Students: Once finalised (they are currently being planned), private after-hours students at St John's will be able to attend 2-3 group sessions each half term.


Group Theory/Technical Sessions Costs

All sessions are 20-30mins, 2-3 sessions per half term, £4-6 each session.

They will be added to your invoice. 

Lesson Materials

On joining, we automatically supply a starter pack including Learning Materials/Practice Diary.

This incurs a one-off initial cost (see Prices and Payment page).

We have all the necessary equipment in our lessons; nothing would be required to begin.

Do, however, feel free to bring your instrument/drum sticks if you wish to.

Left-hand guitarists need to bring their guitar to every session.

All students need to brgin thein own ear defenders to every session.

For Drummers: Sticks are also available at extra cost (see Prices and Payment page).


Subsequent Materials

In time, once your teacher feels a student is ready to progress, further SMS prepared documents may be issued (including Practice Diaries if lost or full), and which would be invoiced automatically.


​Many of our students take music grades. In time, once your teacher feels a student is ready to progress, we will make a recommendation, confirm the grade, organise the books, and recommend again if/when a student is ready to sit the exam. Grade books cost in the region of £12-£15. We will not purchase a grade book/enter a student for an exam without prior consent.


​Invoices and Payment

We send invoices at various times:

- On joining (for the remaining lessons in the term from the point of joining)

- In advance of the beginning of each half term and the summer holiday term.


Late Payments and Returned Cheques

We are a small business and rely on cash flow. To help cover the time of chasing fees, £15 may be added to the invoice for each four weeks payment that has not been made paid from the invoice date. We reserve the right to cease lessons with immediate effect in the event of late payment. Please also note, we have had to incur charges for returned cheques. If cheques are for whatever reason returned and SMS incur bank charges, costs will need to be passed back to the Student / Parent / Carer.

Number of Lessons/Year

We aim to teach c.40-45 weeks each academic or calendar year unless otherwise by agreement. Please advise if more or less frequency is required.


​Fees, Missed lessons

Any lesson missed by the student shall be paid for unless otherwise agreed with SMS, or at least seven days notice is given in advance. If SMS is unavailable to provide any scheduled lesson, the lesson will be carried forward to another date. If this is not possible, any fee already paid will be refunded or used to pay for a future lesson. Some short notice cancellations may be required from time to time. Extra lessons are available during holiday periods by agreement. We will share 50% of the costs of a lesson if a school lesson is cancelled by the school, e.g. fire drills/exams.


Stopping Lessons / Sabbaticals / Notice Period

The notice period for students to cease lessons is five lessons (3 lessons if fortnightly).

Notice can be given at any time, including midterm.

Notice is not required in the following scenarios:

- A student ceases lessons at the end of a year. (Not end of a term)

- A child leaves school. (End of Y6, 11 or 13)

- Lessons are taken as a fixed period, or on a term-by-term basis, with prior agreement. 


For students wishing to take a 'break' from study, i.e.a short sabbatical, this is fine up to a maximum of one full term (2 half terms). Please note we cannot guarantee the same slot on return, and if there is no return within the one-term period, we will invoke the 5 lesson notice period in the usual way. Sabbaticals can only be taken by prior request and agreement.


St Johns Fire Evacuation Summary

For all lessons taking place at St John's; namely:

- SJ Students (during the day or after hours).

- SJ Rock Club students.

- All Private students at SJ.

In the event of the fire alarm sounding: 

1. Evacuation will be immediate on hearing the alarm, via nearest fire exit.

2. SJ students will be taken with SMS teachers to the muster point.  

3. We are never expecting a practice alarm, so it is always real. 

4. Rock Club registration will hence be taken regularly each week. 

5. Evacuation is to the tennis courts during school hours, the circular car park after hours.


The Student / Parent / Carer will be responsible for any loss/damage incurred to any instrument, accessory or music loaned/hired by SMS to the student.

Such items will be returned on request to SMS.

The Student / Parent / Carer undertakes not to make photocopies of any music, including any resources/material prepared by SMS.

Any entry fees / materials / syllabus books / CD’s etc for examinations / auditions / shows / festivals etc will be paid by the Student / Parent / Carer.

In the interests of the student's well-being whilst SMS's care, SMS must be informed of any medical or other condition affecting the student.

For private lessons, when teaching out of hours at a school, Parents / Carers must either sit in the lesson or wait outside the teaching room.

Parents/carers will be responsible for picking up (or any other arrangement) immediately after the lesson has finished after school hours.

SMS carry public liability insurance, and all SMS tutors are DBS (CRB) checked.

All students are to bring their own ear defenders to all sessions.