Safety and suitability considerations when choosing an instructor

When arranging lessons, for yourself or for a child, take all the same precautions you would observe when meeting a stranger.

Many countries have laws stating that instructors, especially those working with minors and vulnerable adults, are vetted by their employers. In the case of instructors taking one to one lessons however the instructor is self employed and the person paying for the lesson is the employer. Most vetting procedures used by organisations employing instructors and teachers are not available to individuals hiring a privately employed instructor. Therefore it is important that you take all possible precautions when selecting an instructor for yourself or a child.

Although our service allows lessons to be booked online, which on an ongoing basis is convenience for both student and teacher, initially contact should be by telephone allowing you to make an assessment of the instructor. We recommend you ask the instructor the following:

Most professional instructors will be glad to answer these and will be happy to see clients take such precautions. Some teachers may indeed insist on a chaperone being present at all times when teaching minors.

Don't be afraid to pursue references and recommendations since for good instructors, these will be positive. Although our service allows you to read reviews which provide a guide, it is often better to speak to the customers directly to get a fuller picture. You may need to do this after your first lesson before making any further arrangement. Be completely open about doing this; no responsible instructor will mind you making such checks.

We recommend you pay for lessons one at a time unless you know the instructor. This way if they fail to turn up, or if there is any other problem, you can report the incident. As they will have spent more than the cost of one lesson on registering with us to take online payments it is not in their interest to provide a poor service. We recommend that instructors charge people in advance for the first lesson if they do not know them as this ensures they will be punctual.

Learning any activity through private one to one lessons is often a long-term commitment and a good instructor-student relationship is vital in order to make maximum progress. It is therefore important to give a lot of attention initially to making a good decision in choosing an instructor.

Depending on the activity concerned and what information has been provided in their profile you may wish to ask the following:

Be sure about the service that you want for yourself or your child. Remember that a good instructor will be interested in seeing you progress and will gain job satisfaction from this. It is important therefore that you are as honest as possible about your aspirations and commitment to learning the activity concerned. The more open you are about your expectations and level of commitment, the more useful your lessons will be.

Don't feel obliged to make a decision after your first lesson. You may need to make more than one lesson, or to try several instructors, before you meet the instructor who suits you best.

When you do make a financial arrangement with an instructor, be clear about the fees being charged and how and when they are to be paid. You should also check if the instructor has a cancellation policy and who should be responsible for the purchase of materials, booking facilities etc. Please remember that you are paying for a professional instructors? time. It is therefore important to give good notice if you cannot attend a lesson. We recommend that the full fee be charged if inadequate notice is given.

If you have arranged tuition for your child, you should continue to take a close interest in the progress being made. Make an effort to sit in on lessons regularly enough to be sure of how lesson time is spent. It is often very helpful to instructors to have the opportunity to discuss how your child's skills are developing. Never leave your child with a relative stranger unless you are absolutely certain that this is an appropriate arrangement. If in doubt, sit in on the lesson!