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Writing a Tuition Contract

Your son or daughter needs some help with their schoolwork and you've gone out and found them a tutor. You've agreed a price per hour and all you have to do is pay the tutor at the end of each lesson. Maybe that's how simple it should be but sometimes it isn't. However, with a small amount of forethought and no legal knowledge, you can produce a tuition contract that will cover all the bits of the arrangement which otherwise would have been the dreaded 'moot point' that can bog down any subsequent legal proceeding.

First rule is to forget any legalese you may have heard - keep the English plain and simple. If things ever got 'difficult' (and I've been there on a number of occasions), the clearer and simpler it is the better. Judges generally are unimpressed by legal text and will want to cut to the original intent - so give it to them.

Here are 6 simple steps to writing your first tuition contract.

Step 1 - Identify the parties and list the details. Put the name, address and contact details of both student and tutor, the location of the lesson and its frequency. Briefly describe the subject and level that is being tutored.

Step 2 - Describe what is being paid for and how much it is costing. How much per hour? Does this include a travel fee? When is the tutor paid? How long is the price fixed for? Make sure that you clearly define that the lesson duration is from when the tutor arrives at your home to when they leave and not from when they leave their home or arrive back at it.

Step 3 - Go through the day-to-day details. For example is setting and marking of homework included in the lesson time or in the tutor's preparation time? Will the tutor allow contact in-between lessons and can the student send the tutor the odd question by email?

Step 4 - Sickness and cancellation. There will be times when one or both of you cannot make a lesson. How much notice do you require? How much is paid if the tutor arrives and the student isn't available? What if you tried to contact the tutor but could not get through to them?

Step 5 - Ending the contract. How many lessons notice should you give? What if the tutor ends with you - how much notice should they give to you?

Step 6 - Sign and date it.

If this seems like a lot of work, it need not be. Don't forget that your son or daughter may be with this tutor a long time and a lot of cash will change hands in that time. A proper agreement just covering the basic intent can go a long way to defeating problems later on.

So, if you are engaging a tutor, re-read this article and start jotting down some ideas. It really isn't difficult to write a tuition contract.

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