Tuition Information /
Terms & Conditions
Lesson Time 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.
Frequency of Lessons
Weekly sessions usually give best continuity but if preferred, fortnightly/monthly (or any other arrangement) can be organised to suit your schedule.
School Based Lessons
Students taking lessons during the school day need to let their class teachers know.
Private sessions take place using hired facilities at St Johns Academy (Marlborough) during Mon-Thu weekdays between 3-8pm. All students need to sign in/out at reception and parents need to either sit in the room or wait outside. (Room G144/G146, music corridor). NB: 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 availability of suitable other students. Please note there may well come a point where rates of individual progress differ, at which point we would usually recommend learners continue separately.
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 (in line with the school calendar - six times per academic year)
- At the beginning of the summer holiday for those taking drum courses / summer tuition.
- On joining we supply a starter pack including Learning Materials/Practice Diary. (See Prices
- We have all necessary equipment in our lessons so nothing would be required to begin.
- Do however feel free to bring your guitar/sticks/ear defenders if you wish to.
- Note: Left-hand guitarists need to bring their guitar.
- For Drummers: Sticks are also available. (See Prices
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 be invoiced automatically (See Prices
Many of our students take music grades. Again, 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. Please note we will not purchase a grade book/enter a student for an exam without prior consent.
Stopping Lessons / Sabbaticals / Notice Period
The notice period for students to cease lessons is 5 lessons, (3 lessons if fornightly). Notice can be given at any time including mid term.
Notice is not required in the following scenarios:
1) A student ceases lessons at the end of a year. (Not end of a term)
2) A child leaves school. (End of Y6, 11 or 13)
3) 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.
Group Technical Sessions
On joining, and in addition to regular tuition, all our students become eligible to attend 2-3 Group Technical sessions each half term. The scope of the sessions is technical / theory content, supplementing tuition, and a separate Technical Manual is provided.
Not only beneficial, they gives a wider ‘club’ feel, the opportunity to work with others, and an extra element to tuition.
Students would need to bring their Technical Manual. Drummers need to also bring their sticks and guitarists/bass players need to bring guitars/leads.
- Primary Schools
Primary school students attend 2-3 group sessions each half term, usually on the day of normal tuition. (Times and dates are shown on the timetable attached to each termly invoice).
- St Johns
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.
- Other (Private)
Once finalised (they are currently being planned), private after hours students at St Johns will be able to attend 2-3 group sessions each half term, after school hours on weekdays.
Group Technical Session Costs
All sessions are 20-30mins, 2-3 sessions per half term, £4-6 each session. They will be added to your invoice.
Other Terms and Conditions
Number of Lessons/Year
It is our 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 unless at least 7 days notice is given in advance. If SMS is unavailable to give 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% the costs of a lesson if a school lesson is cancelled by the school, e.g. fire drills / exams.
It is important to note that whilst SMS will use best endeavours to ensure the student makes satisfactory progress, this cannot be guaranteed. In particular, regular practise 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.
We reserve the right to allocate tutors to students and may need to change tutor from time to time. Cover may also be provided by different tutors 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.
Sessions are generally weekly to run in conjunction with the LEA school term timetable. At schools, if lessons are in school hours, they will often be on a rotating basis so the same lessons are not missed each week. This is however a decision for the school. Private / after school sessions will normally be at the same time each week.
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 4 weeks payment has not been made paid from date of invoice. 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.
Data Protection Policy
Photographs / Videoing / Audio Recording Policy
Children Safeguarding Policy
- 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 in 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 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.
Free Taster Lessons
- Any person may have a free taster lesson before deciding to go ahead with regular tuition.
- Sessions usually take place after school hours at St Johns Academy in Marlborough and may be possible at one of the schools in which we teach.
- (See below - instruments shown).
1. During School Hours:
- St Johns Academy, Marlborough (Drums, Guitar, Bass, Theory)
- Kennet Valley Primary (Drums, Guitar, Bass and Theory)
- Marlborough St Mary’s Primary (St Peter’s) (Drums and Theory)
- Bishops Cannings Primary (Drums and Theory)
- Collingbourne Primary (Drums and Theory)
- Baydon Primary (Drums and Theory)
- Woodborough (Drums and Theory)
2. After School Hours (3.15-7.00pm) at St Johns Academy, Marlborough (Mon - Thu)
- Drums, Guitar, Bass, Theory
- Taster sessions are between 20 and 30mins, subject to availability.
- No materials would be necessary.
- The offer is limited to one free session per person.
- There is no obligation to continue lessons afterwards. The decision to proceed to lessons is entirely up to you.
- Should you decide to proceed to lessons, our agreed rates and standard terms and conditions apply.