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A guide to the Legal Aspects of giving 1 to 1 Tutoring

From Ellen, published on 02/05/2017 We Love Prof - UK > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > What are the Legalities of Working as a Private Tutor?

There are no legal requirements to work as a private tutor in the UK. The industry as a whole is pretty much free from official regulation, as there are no specific qualifications or certificates that you need to have.

That said, there are still certain measures that many tutors take to protect themselves and their students.

Because there are no legal requirements to begin tutoring jobs, it is up to you, the tutor, to advertise your services and decide which precautions to take and which checks you may wish to have done.

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Reporting your Income as  Private Tutor

One of the most important parts of working as a private tutor is reporting your income and paying your taxes.

Know the laws on tax returns Make sure you record and report what you earn as a personal tutor. Source: Visualhunt

As soon as you start working as a home tutor, you need to report your income to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). You will need to fill out a self-assessment form, so that the tax office can work out what you will be taxed on your earnings.

Even if you aren’t earning much, it is still important to declare what you earn. HMRC will let you know if you are earning above your personal allowance, and anything you earn above this will be taxed.

Failure to report your income in time could result in a fine, so it’s best to keep organised and get your forms sent off as soon as possible.

By keeping detailed records of your income, including the date of payments, it will be much easier to sort out your self-assessment.

Insuring yourself against Claims

It is not a legal requirement to have insurance as a home tutor in the UK, but it is standard practice for most tutors to have insurance nonetheless.

When working with members of the public, many professionals hold public liability insurance. This ensures that you are covered if damage or injury should occur to a third party in a place that you conduct business.

Some tutors also hold business and portable equipment insurance. As a private tutor, you may rely on certain equipment for your services. This could include, for example, laptops, phones or academic resources.

Wherever you teach or tutor, such as in your own home, in your student’s home, or in a public or rented space, your business equipment could be at risk of damage. Protecting your resources keeps your business safe.

It is also common for private tutors to hold professional indemnity insurance, which is a form of protection against any legal liability as a result of negligent service or advice offered as a professional service.

For E-tutors who work online via a video call, it is less necessary to have liability insurance. It is still worth considering professional indemnity insurance, of course, when teaching and providing advice.

If you wish to expand your business, or work full-time as a private tutor, it might be a good idea to create a solid legal business structure. This might mean putting more insurance policies in place, such as employer’s liability insurance, if you have employees.

It will also entail creating contracts and payment outlines for your employees and setting standards of practice according to your business.

Other legal issues also include health and safety and making sure your services abide by advertising law and guidelines:

Health and Safety

How can I prepare my work space for business? Keep your work space safe and tidy to minimise risks
Source: Pixabay

As a home tutor, your priority is keeping your student, and yourself, safe. If you offer private tuition in your own home, it is your legal responsibility to ensure it is a safe environment in which to conduct business.

As a home tutor, you are responsible and accountable for and health and safety issues that might arise in your own home.

Equally, if you conduct business in a rented or public space, or in the home of your students, you are responsible for analysing the potential risks involved and protecting yourself as well as possible.

It is not a legal requirement to be insured as a private tutor. But whether or not you decide to buy insurance, it is worth doing a simple risk assessment in your home. By doing this you can make your home a safer place to work.

Things like cluttered work space, uneven surfaces, frayed carpets or loose cables are common hazards in homes. They can be serious risks, however, and need to be identified and removed where possible.

If you have a loose carpet, for example, and a student were to trip, you would be liable for their injury and could face serious legal action as a result.

You are also at risk if you conduct your tutoring services in the home of your students. If you cause damage or injury in their home, or equally if you injure yourself on their property, the right insurance policy will protect you and cover any fees or compensation.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website contains lots of information and advice for creating a safe and legal work environment. It also has guidelines on the risks involved with working with young and vulnerable people.

Advertising

False advertising can entail serious risks Be sure to represent yourself and your services honestly. Source: Visualhunt

As a private tutor, you obliged by law to give a true and accurate description of the tuition services that you advertise.

All marketing materials you use to advertise your tutoring service, such as business cards, flyers and adverts, or any descriptions of tutoring jobs in online adverts must be factually correct.

You should be able to provide proof of any experience or qualifications that you claim to have, if a student or parent wishes to see proof of your credentials.

Most tutoring agencies will verify any qualifications that you claim to have, as you are representing their company as well as yourself, whether as an online tutor or if you work face to face.

All qualifications that you claim to have on you online profile with Superprof will be verified by the Superprof team before they are shared with prospective students, but it is your own responsibility to provide any insurance information or DBS certificates.

You must be completely honest with all skills, qualifications and successes that you claim to have. For example, you cannot say you lived abroad to learn a language if you did not, and you cannot claim that all your past students achieved A grades if it is not the case.

Examples of how you have previously motivated students to do better and achieve their potential is a great way of attracting new customers. As with all the information you advertise, you should be able to verify any experiences or stories of previous successes with past students if you use them to promote your home tutoring services.

It is a criminal offence to falsify information of a service you sell.

If you have lied about any of your information or mislead a customer, it is possible for them to report misleading advertising to the Advertising Standards Authority, which can involve long and costly legal proceedings.

For more information on abiding by UK advertising codes and to make sure you are advertising responsibly, visit the Advertising Standards Authority website.

DBS Checks

As of 17th June 2013, The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

A DBS certificate is an official document proving that there is no known reason why an individual may not work with children or vulnerable adults.

It is not a legal requirement for tutors to have a DBS check in the UK.

That said, Tutors commonly hold DBS certificates, especially when working with children. This is mainly to make a tutoring business more professional and reputable, and to give peace of mind to parents and carers.

The benefits of having a DBS certificate include making students, parents and tutors feel safe and secure, and consequently attracting more students to your service.

Confidentiality

When working in other people’s homes, it is important to respect the privacy of the client and their personal property, and remain as discrete as possible in their home.

With some tutoring agencies which focus on face-to-face home visits, as opposed to online tutoring, they might want their tutors to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

An NDA might be presented to you by the client, to state that the tutor will not disclose any confidential information about the client.

If you run your own business and employ other tutors, it might be worth considering having an NDA in place to protect your student and their privacy.

If you or an employee were to stumble across private information, having an NDA in your legal business structure will ensure your client’s privacy and that their confidential information is safe.

NDAs are more common when working with high-profile or high-net worth clients, and are not used that frequently with private tutors.

Setting Your Own Standards

Obviously, there are health and safety checks that you should perform in your home, and in the places you conduct your business, in order to ensure that the risks are at a minimum and it is a supportive environment to your work.

With regards to your tutoring service, you can also think about setting your own rules and standards.

You might wish to set out some ground rules on where you work, and who you work with. You are perfectly within your rights to decline a student’s request for your services.

Although there are no strict requirements at all for which qualifications you need to tutor, you might decide that you feel under-qualified to teach a certain level of education.

For example, if you are a degree-level student who works as a tutor alongside your studies, and you receive an application to tutor at degree-level, you might not feel as though you can provide an adequate service.

Equally, if you tutor for degree-level Biology, you might you feel able to teach A-Level chemistry as well, but you might feel uncomfortable trying to tutor Chemistry at degree-level.

Running a tutoring business can be simple! Create your own rules and standards as a private tutor
Source: Pixabay

There are no legal guidelines for what you can and cannot teach, so as long as you feel comfortable and able to provide a great tutoring service for a particular subject, it’s up to you!

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