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BalletShoes5

Direct Debits in current situation

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This is a bit of an elephant in the room...hate to ask this but was is everyone doing about their DD for dance? We are fully supportive of the school/teachers but we are really worried about our own finances at the moment as we run our own business and we are likely to be hit hard in 3 months to 18 months. Our dance school are continuing to take DD payments per month and have said they aim to do online classes/make up over the Summer. They haven't given anyone the choice to cancel.  I am a little sceptical that hours will be able to made up as we don't know how long this is going to continue for. Other activities  even gymnastics have advised us to cancel or freeze DD's so not sure why so different for dance? There is no reduction in fees either, even though halls will not be hired. It's the elephant in the room, as other parents at the same dance school have pm'ed the same but no one wants to bring up publicly or formally so no idea general feeling.  Don't want to cause problems for our child but wanted to find out consensus amongst other dance schools. I wondered if there could be pay by play dance class option - at least give parents an option given current situation. I am also a bit wary of the platforms used for these lessons in terms of safeguarding. 

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I’m only a small school but all my parents have paid up to last class before we stopped! Anyone who had paid up to end of term, their fees will be carried forward. There was also the added complication of getting fees in before 5/4!! End of financial year 🙄 I will also be doing on line/video classes but I don’t expect pupils to pay for these 😁

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If it were me, I'd cancel the direct debit if it is a lot of money. There are loads of free online classes anyway.

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Cancel the direct debit and explain to the teacher your reasoning. Assuming your dance teacher is also self employed she should understand and should be willing to put options in place that support what is a difficult and uncertain time for everyone! 

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I was surprised to learn vs are still expecting full fees paid too even if don’t return for the entire summer term 

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Haven’t the government announced help for the self employed now? I would presume dance teachers are eligible? Presuming they are they shouldn’t really be charging fees and claiming help or is it more complicated than that?

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From the page I read it seems self employed can continue working and also receive the government grant,

the vast majority of dance teachers can’t continue to work unless they go online, which in my opinion is barely teaching, I can’t say I’m enjoying the experience. With no end date in sight, I don’t see how anyone can say they will catch the classes up over the summer. We won’t see the grant until at least June, although it will be backdated so we will receive 3 months. They have suggested we apply for universal credit in the meantime, but for a lot of us that seems to be a none starter. 

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Surely it would be very wrong morally to be charging parents full fees and to claim any assistance from the government? Maybe you could suggest paying a reduced amount of 1/3 fees or something for the summer term in April as a lump sum. They’d have just about the entire amount for the first month and then can claim assistance. It is tricky as nobody wants to see their valued teachers in a difficult financial position but many parents are struggling and paying a large amount for dance lessons which aren’t running is not going to be possible

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From next term I've asked for a £5 contribution from anyone who can afford it. But there are a few who have contacted me to say they can't and I completely understand.

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@balletshoes5's teacher may not be eligible for the government's self employed support - it depends on how she operates her business (If she operates through a limited company she won't be eligible as a self employed person - and the position is still unclear as to whether she can furlough herself).

 

However I think most business owners reluctantly recognise that if we are not offering a service we don't get paid.  It is one of the risks you run when running your own business.  But this is all very new, and fast changing, and the teacher may not have really got her head round how she is going to cope with all this.

 

If I was you I think I would try to speak to the teacher and have chat about options, and all the concerns you have expressed in your original post.  They are all valid.

 

 

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I have guaranteed that all my students will get the lessons that they have paid for even if the summer term ends up being the autumn term instead. Those who pay, or part pay (even if just a little) are being given access to the free resources and online tutorials that my ds (who has RAD PDTD) is putting together. But these will not be a substitute for the "real" classes. 

 

But I do need the fees in in order for the school to survive as like the vast majority of dance teachers I am self employed and do not own my premises, some which I may risk losing in a very competitive area if I cannot pay the rent! And I also aware of the impact for my self employed pianists and teachers, we all have to wait until June for any help. 

 

I fervently hope that any struggling parents will be upfront with me so that I can waive notice fees at my discretion if they can no longer afford to pay for lessons. What I HATE is people not bothering to contact me and communicate with me which means that I have to chase them up. I'm also fond of my students and its awful when they leave without warning. 

 

So short answer is if you can no longer pay do at least discuss it with your dance school.

 

When thanking one parent for the next terms fees she said that she wanted to guarantee that her daughter would still have a class to go back to. 

 

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I don’t think it’s as easy for the self employed to access help as everyone assumes. Especially as they will feel obligated to help their staff who are usually freelance. I think it all depends on the dance school. If they have staff to pay and if they are still being expected to pay hall hire, insurances, memberships, rates or a mortgage on their premises. A monthly dd for April would likely have only included 2 weeks with the Easter holidays anyway so if online classes are being offered, you could consider this is payment for the hours spent creating content. Some schools are offering personal feedback if you send videos in. This I imagine will be far more time consuming for teachers. I think it all depends on how much you value your school, how much you value the people who invest so much time into your child and how much you want the school to be there for your child at the end of all this. In our dance school we recognise how much ‘extra’ our teacher gives Over and above what we are ‘paying’ for. Pastoral care, attending auditions with us, coming on first pointe shoes fittings, taking us on summer schools, advice, love, care and sometimes offering lifts here there and everywhere. Maybe it’s time to repay some of these ‘over and above’ things a dance teacher offers if you can afford it? We’re going to continue paying our fees whilst we can, make use of the classes being offered and personal feedback which so far has been in far more depth than in group lessons. My girls would be devastated if our school was gone at the end of this. How would yours feel? 
 

 

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16 hours ago, hfbrew said:

I am self employed and do not own my premises, some which I may risk losing in a very competitive area if I cannot pay the rent!

 

 

If you rent premises will you be eligible for the Small Business Grants Scheme for businesses which pay little or no business rates?

 

I know it doesn't help with the immediate cash flow problem, as you have to wait for it to come through.

 

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6 hours ago, Petruska said:

I don’t think it’s as easy for the self employed to access help as everyone assumes. Especially as they will feel obligated to help their staff who are usually freelance. I think it all depends on the dance school. If they have staff to pay and if they are still being expected to pay hall hire, insurances, memberships, rates or a mortgage on their premises. A monthly dd for April would likely have only included 2 weeks with the Easter holidays anyway so if online classes are being offered, you could consider this is payment for the hours spent creating content. Some schools are offering personal feedback if you send videos in. This I imagine will be far more time consuming for teachers. I think it all depends on how much you value your school, how much you value the people who invest so much time into your child and how much you want the school to be there for your child at the end of all this. In our dance school we recognise how much ‘extra’ our teacher gives Over and above what we are ‘paying’ for. Pastoral care, attending auditions with us, coming on first pointe shoes fittings, taking us on summer schools, advice, love, care and sometimes offering lifts here there and everywhere. Maybe it’s time to repay some of these ‘over and above’ things a dance teacher offers if you can afford it? We’re going to continue paying our fees whilst we can, make use of the classes being offered and personal feedback which so far has been in far more depth than in group lessons. My girls would be devastated if our school was gone at the end of this. How would yours feel? 
 

 

Petuska, we really do value our dance school, but I'm not sure if you read my post. We are going to really struggle to pay the fees. We have spoken to the school, who hire village halls to run their classes and they are still expecting fees to be paid or offer us a payment plan which we can't commit to right now. 

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20 hours ago, Peony said:

Surely it would be very wrong morally to be charging parents full fees and to claim any assistance from the government? Maybe you could suggest paying a reduced amount of 1/3 fees or something for the summer term in April as a lump sum. They’d have just about the entire amount for the first month and then can claim assistance. It is tricky as nobody wants to see their valued teachers in a difficult financial position but many parents are struggling and paying a large amount for dance lessons which aren’t running is not going to be possible

We have suggested reduction in fees etc, as they won't be paying for room hire. We'd love to support the dance school, but we have to pay our mortgage and prioritise that first. We don't know what Government support will be available to our own business in 6 -18 months time when we will really need it. Such a hard situation for all. 

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5 minutes ago, BalletShoes5 said:

Petuska, we really do value our dance school, but I'm not sure if you read my post. We are going to really struggle to pay the fees. We have spoken to the school, who hire village halls to run their classes and they are still expecting fees to be paid or offer us a payment plan which we can't commit to right now. 

Apologies, it wasn’t really attended as a direct reply to your situation. I had summarised from all the responses. You should absolutely prioritise your family and each individual situation is unique. If your teacher is anything like ours, they will completely empathise and cancel your payments. If not, then you need to decide after all this is over, if it’s right for you and your family anyway. You can cancel a direct debit with the bank?  My message was really for everyone who is lucky enough to not lose their income totally and can stretch to help those they value. 

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7 minutes ago, Petruska said:

Apologies, it wasn’t really attended as a direct reply to your situation. I had summarised from all the responses. You should absolutely prioritise your family and each individual situation is unique. If your teacher is anything like ours, they will completely empathise and cancel your payments. If not, then you need to decide after all this is over, if it’s right for you and your family anyway. You can cancel a direct debit with the bank?  My message was really for everyone who is lucky enough to not lose their income totally and can stretch to help those they value. 

No worries - it's really hard because our child lives and breathes their dance. Such a tricky situation, we would love to be able to support the school and teachers, but we have

 just got to hanker down right now and prioritise. No offence taken. I know a lot of teachers go above and beyond it's just the presumption here which makes it difficult, we've a lot of friends in the same situation. Realistically you could end up with an elitist situation, if schools are going to favour those who can keep paying fees and potentially lose those with talent because of financial circumstances. I know the dance world is competitive but there has to be empathy on both sides? 

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36 minutes ago, BalletShoes5 said:

No worries - it's really hard because our child lives and breathes their dance. Such a tricky situation, we would love to be able to support the school and teachers, but we have

 just got to hanker down right now and prioritise. No offence taken. I know a lot of teachers go above and beyond it's just the presumption here which makes it difficult, we've a lot of friends in the same situation. Realistically you could end up with an elitist situation, if schools are going to favour those who can keep paying fees and potentially lose those with talent because of financial circumstances. I know the dance world is competitive but there has to be empathy on both sides? 

Exactly. I’m sure if you have to cancel fees, when this is all over you can go back? No teacher will turn away a talented student surely? Especially one they have nurtured until now? Good luck  

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4 hours ago, glowlight said:

 

If you rent premises will you be eligible for the Small Business Grants Scheme for businesses which pay little or no business rates?

 

I know it doesn't help with the immediate cash flow problem, as you have to wait for it to come through.

 

I doubt it. I don't fulfil the criteria and use several different venues so it is not straightforward. But I appreciate your suggestion. I will be happy with the help in June if and when it comes, in the meantime I have had lovely messages and early payments today from some who are in a position to pay and who value my school. The deferred July tax payment is going to help too. 

I personally would be very sympathetic to students who are struggling regardless of talent as dance is good for everyone. All I ask is to be communicated with! 

 

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That's great to hear that other studios are helping students/parents, we have been really open from the beginning with the dance school, so fingers crossed we will gain some support. It's such a difficult situation and being business owners ourselves we know this only too well. Thank you everyone for your messages and private messages. Some great advice and help both for dance but also our own business. Really is appreciated that you feel supported when we are all isolated. Thank you again.

 

 

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Slightly off topic , I had booked two of my daughters onto a four day Easter course which was cancelled due to the corona virus . Was I in wrong in thinking that this would automatically be refunded ? The course will be postponed but it’s not a given we could attend the postponed course . So I’ve effectively lost over £1000. Any advice would be very welcomed.

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59 minutes ago, Tutumuchmum said:

Slightly off topic , I had booked two of my daughters onto a four day Easter course which was cancelled due to the corona virus . Was I in wrong in thinking that this would automatically be refunded ? The course will be postponed but it’s not a given we could attend the postponed course . So I’ve effectively lost over £1000. Any advice would be very welcomed.


I would hope to have the option of postponing to new dates, use the money for next years easter course or having a refund.

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59 minutes ago, Tutumuchmum said:

Slightly off topic , I had booked two of my daughters onto a four day Easter course which was cancelled due to the corona virus . Was I in wrong in thinking that this would automatically be refunded ? The course will be postponed but it’s not a given we could attend the postponed course . So I’ve effectively lost over £1000. Any advice would be very welcomed.

I suspect we are booked on the same course . I have got into quite protracted discussions with the gentleman who assured me I’m the only person who is asking for a refund. The advice I’ve been given is that if it’s ‘postponed’ and I accept that status of the course , if we can’t make the new dates we are essentially cancelling and lose the money. My advice has been to keep referring to the course as cancelled and to keep rejecting the postponement. 

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Oh wow that’s awful. You booked for the dates they gave out. If you can’t do the postponed dates you wouldn’t have booked your dc on to the course in the first place so in my opinion that’s not cancelling. 

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You may be able to claim under rule 75 of the consumer credit act if you've paid by credit card, for 'goods or services not received' 

Debit cards are covered by a different rule so might be worth contacting your bank if a debit card was used.  I've no idea about consumer law though if by postponing the course, this is still classed as a cancellation if you aren't able to attend. Worth pursuing though. I would have thought the course provider should offer a refund if the new date doesn't work for you. Good luck, I hope you get a successful resolution. 

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Where you given a set of terms and conditions when you signed up to the course? 
Citizen’s Advice or Trading Standards may be a source of help. 

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Goodness me,  that’s not on.  They should give the option of carrying the booking over or getting a full refund.  I echo Jane’s advice to try to get more information on your rights.  

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