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21 hours ago, alison said:

That's appalling.  What was she doing - English Literature?  (Sorry - my roommate was doing EL back last century and "only" had 14 contact hours a week.  I had 21, and was quite jealous of all her "spare" time)

Media Studies

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9 hours ago, Peony said:

Taking dividends instead of earnings is a way of reducing your tax bill though. If they’re not declaring it as earnings for paye, then it’s fair it doesn’t count towards earnings for the furlough scheme either! 
I’ve heard some schools insist on their regular teachers working on a self employed basis (which I believe is contrary to employment law if they are to all intents and purposes ‘employed’ rather than just independently using the studio space). Presumably that has meant they couldn’t access the furlough scheme when really they should have been able to

The fact that the people who work for my school are on self employed basis has meant that we all got the much needed financial help. (My teachers and pianists also all work on this basis at other places too.) As I understand it, those running limited companies could furlough staff but they could not do this for themselves. A friend of mine furloughed staff but was not able to access financial help herself. 

 

My little school is only just going, it would not exist any other way. As it is I still endeavoured to pay pianists and teachers whilst waiting to reopen and had to pay other overheads too. 

 

When thanking a parent for paying full fees the day the lockdown was announced she said that "I want there to be a Ballet school for my daughter to come back to." 

 

Fortunately the majority of parents had this attitude. Others just didn't seem to understand that we were not a "club" run by volunteers temporarily shutting down. "no body else is charging" I got told by some. (not true, many charged full fees for a term via Zoom.) 

 

We provided free online resources and pre recorded tutorials who paid, or part paid fees (we were flexible). We also did free Zoom classes. And I am currently still honouring all the lessons paid for,including spring term. 

 

All this on top of all the necessary risks assessments and extra work associated with making venues safe. This has also impacted on the business as although small classes are lovely, none of them now make a profit. And like many others, this is my livelihood, not just a little hobby on the side. 

 

Everyone's circumstances are different, I consider myself to be very lucky to have a business at all and a roof over my head. 

 

Once again I quote the kind hearted lady "I want there to be a Ballet school for my daughter to come back to." 

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, Peony said:

I’ve heard some schools insist on their regular teachers working on a self employed basis (which I believe is contrary to employment law if they are to all intents and purposes ‘employed’ rather than just independently using the studio space).

 

My understanding is that under IR35 HMRC wants to see evidence that you're working for at least 3 separate clients for you to be classed as self-employed rather than an employee.  But I think they have been moving the goalposts recently, or trying to.

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I feel for you @hfbrew. It is a terrible time for dance schools. The teachers that I know personally are all in much the same position - working harder than ever but with less income due to the class size restrictions and extra expenses. Like many small businesses, I think a lot of dance schools are in survival mode, just hoping they can ride things out and still be in business when better times arrive.

I think the economic effects are really starting to hit home. I see news of local businesses closing almost every day now. A few days ago it was our local dancewear shop, today a positively iconic hotel that, I am sure, everyone thought would be there forever. I fear more dark times are ahead.

 

Obviously it is nowhere near as bad as it is for those who make their living from a dance school or similar, but even voluntary groups are not immune. I volunteer with several community sports clubs and all have suffered financially to some degree. We have still had our big annual expenses of insurance and affiliation to our national governing bodies,which have to be paid whether we are active at present or not. The sessions that we have run have been loss making as the venues we use have, quite understandably,still charged us the full rate, or indeed extra due to increased cleaning costs, we've had extra expenses for PPE etc and far lower income than usual due to limited numbers. As we run on a shoestring as it is, in order to keep our activities as accessible as possible, we don't have a lot of money in the bank. We've enough of a buffer to survive this year, but if we don't get some semblance of normality back by next year, I'm not sure. 

 

The effects of Covid-19 are going far beyond the direct impact on health and I think people (generally - not specifically the members of this forum) need to do what they can to support their local community, charities and industries that matter to them. Sorry for the rather bleak outlook, but I have been quite depressed by the number of parents who, having done nothing to support our clubs either financially or practically this year, have cheerily told me "But don't worry, we will be back when everything is back to normal." I've then been accused of emotional blackmail when I've replied "If there's something to return to." Obviously I appreciate that some are already in genuine financial hardship, or are shielding etc and really can't contribute anything, but not everyone. A lot of people still seem to be labouring under the illusion that everything is just going to magically return to how it was pre pandemic when it is finally over. Maybe that's a coping mechanism, I guess we all need something to look forward to, but it isn't realistic. As a society, we need to adjust our expectations considerably.

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51 minutes ago, Jewel said:

Just to re-iterate that directprs of limited companies who pay themselves dividends do pay tax on their dividends.  Corporation tax is paid on company profits plus dividend tax is paid on dividends totalling more than £2000

Yes, they pay these taxes, but not National Insurance contributions.  Many people think INcome tax and NI should be combined, but this would actually produce a high figure for income tax which has always been deemed a political problem by both main parties.

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On 29/09/2020 at 10:33, alison said:

That's appalling.  What was she doing - English Literature?  (Sorry - my roommate was doing EL back last century and "only" had 14 contact hours a week.  I had 21, and was quite jealous of all her "spare" time)

Media Studies

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My daughter was considering deferring her second year in the assumption that things would be normal again next year, but she is now back studying her contemporary degree and it looks like she has covid (still waiting on the test result but one of her housemates tested positive yesterday and she has symptoms so it's pretty likely).  While I think the idea of a fees discount is attractive, I also think it could turn out to be a positive - a lot of schools and students are responding by finding new ways of being creative. So while they are missing out on some things, there are new opportunities opening up. 

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23 hours ago, Fiz said:

Wishing your daughter a quick recovery if she is positive and that she’s soon fighting fit again. x

 

23 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

Wishing your daughter a speedy recovery whether she is positive or not.  Let's hope she's soon back to normal.

Thank you so much! She is still waiting on test results but as 4 of her household have tested positive she is expecting one too. Says it feels like a cold.

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Yes, hope your DD gets well soon @Kanangra

I have just taken my son for a test. He came home with what looked like a bog standard cold yesterday but today he had a temperature of 38.5c and we were fortunate to be able to get a test right away. I've got my fingers crossed its negative, but have a sinking feeling it won't be. My other son is half way through his A level mocks and i have a scan booked at the end of the week that I have been waiting for months for so its not the ideal time to have to isolate. I appreciate that others have it far worse though.

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Thanks Fiz. I hope so. He was complaining of feeling dizzy earlier and not being able to hear normally, so maybe its an ear infection. Another aspect of the Covid fall out is that of course any pyrexial illness is Covid until proven otherwise now, so I know there is little point in calling the GPs until I have got the test result. Hopefully I will get it back soon then know one way or the other and can get a doctor's appointment if its negative and he is still poorly. I know I was super lucky to be able to get a test quickly given the problems many have had so I am very grateful for that.

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11 hours ago, Pups_mum said:

Thanks Fiz. I hope so. He was complaining of feeling dizzy earlier and not being able to hear normally, so maybe its an ear infection. Another aspect of the Covid fall out is that of course any pyrexial illness is Covid until proven otherwise now, so I know there is little point in calling the GPs until I have got the test result. Hopefully I will get it back soon then know one way or the other and can get a doctor's appointment if its negative and he is still poorly. I know I was super lucky to be able to get a test quickly given the problems many have had so I am very grateful for that.

Ear infections can cause very high temperatures so maybe it’s that? Fingers crossed for you all. 

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3 hours ago, Fiz said:

I really hope your dear dd can shake it off easily, @Kanangra I always thought it was a premature and irresponsible act for the government reopen the schools and universities. Stay safe, all Ballet Co family. x

I think everyone was lulled into a false sense of security by the numbers getting so low. 

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Good news for us - just had a text saying the test was negative. He is still really quite unwell but at least its not that. I can now send my other son in to school do his mocks tomorrow and go for my scan with a clear conscience. And if the poorly one is no better tomorrow I can call the GP and they won't just say "Sounds like Covid". 

Hope your DD is soon on the mend @Kanangra It must be hard for you both with her being away. No matter how grown up they get its natural to want to be at home when they're ill. 😢

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8 hours ago, Pups_mum said:

Good news for us - just had a text saying the test was negative. He is still really quite unwell but at least its not that. I can now send my other son in to school do his mocks tomorrow and go for my scan with a clear conscience. And if the poorly one is no better tomorrow I can call the GP and they won't just say "Sounds like Covid". 

Hope your DD is soon on the mend @Kanangra It must be hard for you both with her being away. No matter how grown up they get its natural to want to be at home when they're ill. 😢

That's good news - hope he is feeling better soon and you all stay covid free. It is hard being so far away but at least we have a friend in London who is looking out for her and has organised some groceries and medication for her. 

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On 29/09/2020 at 15:19, Kate_N said:

 

That's pretty typical of a BA at Oxford or Cambridge. Are those degrees "good value"?

This was a degree in Media Studies and not at either Oxford or Cambridge

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1 hour ago, akh said:

This was a degree in Media Studies and not at either Oxford or Cambridge

 

My point is that the hours you quoted are pretty standard for a BA at Oxbridge (and lectures are generally not compulsory) but I rarely hear anyone citing the face to face teaching hours at Oxford or Cambridge as "bad" value for money ... I've long noticed an intellectual snobbery about this, where Oxbridge practices are seen as gold standard, but the same practices elsewhere are criticised (the tendency to mock Media Studies as a "Mickey Mouse" subject, for example), together with a tendency to misunderstand the role of face to face teaching in the humanities. In research seminar modules, my students need to spend at least a day a week (if not longer) reading set texts, and at least another day a week reading around the topic of each week's seminar. I suppose I could book a big lecture theatre, and we could all sit in it for 8 hours, reading the texts, and this would count as face to face hours?

Edited by Kate_N
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Thanks @Kate_N. He had a really rough night last night unfortunately but I got very good service from our GP surgery this morning and he's now got some medication which will hopefully kick in soon. And the negative test meant my older son got to do his A level physics mocks today thank goodness. I know it sounds daft worrying about that in the current situation but with all the furore over grades last year, I really didn't want him to miss it and potentially have problems later. 

I should apologise to the OP - this thread has taken on a life of its own and strayed a long way off topic. I will shut up now! 

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23 hours ago, Kate_N said:

 

My point is that the hours you quoted are pretty standard for a BA at Oxbridge (and lectures are generally not compulsory) but I rarely hear anyone citing the face to face teaching hours at Oxford or Cambridge as "bad" value for money ... I've long noticed an intellectual snobbery about this, where Oxbridge practices are seen as gold standard, but the same practices elsewhere are criticised (the tendency to mock Media Studies as a "Mickey Mouse" subject, for example), together with a tendency to misunderstand the role of face to face teaching in the humanities. In research seminar modules, my students need to spend at least a day a week (if not longer) reading set texts, and at least another day a week reading around the topic of each week's seminar. I suppose I could book a big lecture theatre, and we could all sit in it for 8 hours, reading the texts, and this would count as face to face hours?

And my point was that I am not sure it's value for money wherever and what ever you study for such a small number of contact hours (pre virus restrictions) Just my view.

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7 hours ago, akh said:

And my point was that I am not sure it's value for money wherever and what ever you study for such a small number of contact hours (pre virus restrictions) Just my view.

The subjects with low contact hours tend to require lots of reading and forming opinions and theories, to then discuss and develop during tutorials and underpin with learning from lectures. So the ‘value’ is in the feedback and response to what is produced from the hours of independent work. The hours spent working shouldn’t be any less, just more independent and reflective. No arts student worth their salt would want to be spoon-fed the course.

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