Below is a range of Frequently Asked Questions relating to enrolment, fees and attendance at TSPA. If they do not answer all your questions please don't hesitate to get in touch by calling us on 020 8312 1659 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why don't you offer a free trial?
We ask all new parents to pay for the first month in advance of a child starting classes with us. While we do not provide a free trial, we do give you the assurance that if at any time during your first month with us you should decide not to take up the place offered, the fees paid will be refunded to you in full. This way you able to join and get a taste of TSPA with no risk attached. Once a member of TSPA, our students can try new classes for free.
Can I get feedback on my child's progess at TSPA?
Of course. We do not provide regular written reports for our students but of course we are happy to discuss their progress with you at reasonable intervals. If they are undertaking BTDA exams you will have a fair indication of their progress based upon their grades but we are always open to parents who take a closer interest in how their youngsters are progressing in class.
We would be happy to discuss this with you if you would like to get in touch, and usually would like to consult our tutors after your enquiry so we can feed back their comments. It is not usually possible to provide feedback for parents immediately after a class as the tutor is usually welcoming a new group of children in, so please request feedback by contacting the office in the first instance. If you would like to meet more formally to discuss an issue please arrange an appointment and we will be happy to help.
What data about me are you keeping?
With the new GDPR rules that came into force on March 25th 2018, all businesses that use data about customers are having to review and assess their policies for the storage and use of other people's data. TSPA is dedicated to compliance with these new rules that reassure people that their information will not be treated irresponsibly. You can review our Data Protection policy by downloading our policy document here, and there is more information for you here about TSPA's GDPR compliance.
How much are the fees?
The current scale of fees is available here.
When are fees due?
All fees are payable by monthly direct debit, so six half terms fees are spread across twelve monthly payments. As a result, there will be an August payment, even though there will be no classes in August. If you prefer to pay by Half Termly direct debit (ie 6 payments a year) this is fine by us, just let us know so that we can set it up this way. All payments are protected by the Direct Debit Guarantee. Visit GoCardless for more information.
Is there a "Pay as you Go" option?
What are my fees paying for?
TSPA is a not-for-private-profit Social Enterprise family run company with a mission to provide a service to the community, but it is a company and as such we must make some kind of profit in order to survive, let alone thrive and grow. We do not answer to shareholders, but we are not a charity that receives grants or donations so we must charge for our services. We believe therefore that value for money is the most important thing to our customers. We have never set out to be the cheapest, but we are aiming to be the best. We want you to know that your money is being used to provide quality experiences to your children.
Fees paid by parents contribute towards the cost of renting the Studio from The Link, paying our tutors for their services, the cost of administrative work and insurance etc and other costs related to running an organisation that has around 400 visits a week. As we grow the workload becomes greater and we need to grow our team to be able to cope, so our costs are always increasing faster than our fees.
What happens if my child misses a class?
Unfortunately we cannot refund missed classes. In order for TSPA to survive we have to be able to plan for the future based upon enrolments and expected fees income. If we refunded for missed classes we would very quickly be refunding a great deal of fees, since obviously for various reasons it is necessary to miss the odd class. With 400 visits a week, this adds up to lots of 'odd' classes missed. We also would find that commitment to attend classes would drop, particularly during winter months when staying in can seem more appealing than braving the cold weather to get to dance class! We expect that enrolment to our classes has a level of commitment which includes financial commitment from the parents. For these reasons we will not refund for classes missed due to family holidays, trips, excursions, parties etc, and to be fair to all we cannot make exceptions to this rule.
What happens if my child needs to miss an extended period?
If your child is unwell for a considerable period and cannot medically attend class or has been advised by their doctor, or indeed by us, to rest from dancing then we may be able to cease to charge fees for this duration, or offer a discount, or carry fees over to the following block etc. Please contact us to discuss this, and we may ask that medical evidence be provided to reassure us that the absence is genuine. We try to be as accommodating as possible for genuine extended illness - unfortunately we cannot, for the reasons stated above, discount fees for missed classes for standard illness, colds, flu etc.
When will the fees go up?
There will be a small increase in our fees each September.
What is the uniform my child should be wearing?
Many of our dance classes have uniform requirements, which we can provide info for if you would like to speak to someone at The Studio reception when you come to class. You can order dancewear through us to save the inconvenience of having to go to a dance shop. We are trying to get stricter about uniform in class as this has several positive benefits to progress for the children, not least that it encourages unity and a sense of being part of a community at TSPA which promotes a positive atmosphere all round.
When will there be a show I can watch?
We aim to do a 'big' show at a venue such as the Orchard Theatre or the Mick Jagger Centre in Dartford every couple of years. It is not possible for us to do one every year - the planning and logistics of mounting a show with 200+ children means it is just too much for our small team to undertake every year. We plan more frequent performances on a smaller scale at our 160-seat venue at The Studio which you will be able to attend, and we frequently have "watch week" sessions where parents can view classes.
What are the costs of performances etc?
As with any activity that your child gets involved in, there are often extra costs involved for further activities. At TSPA if we are doing a big show, there is always a Show Fee which covers costs related to the production, and there will be costume costs relative to the number of routines your child is in. We do our best to keep these as low as possible and they are not profit making exercises for TSPA. People often complain about these costs but we encourage them to consider that the expenses of mounting a show on this scale at a theatre like the Orchard can never be covered by ticket sales alone - unless we were to sell out the theatre at £30 a ticket. Which would never happen, because if tickets were £30 you would not be encouraging the wider family to come and see the show. A show fee and costume fee is the fairest way, enables us to plan and budget the production, and helps us keep ticket prices reasonable, generally less than £15 a ticket in previous years. In order to be able to mount shows in the future at wonderful venues such as the Orchard or the MJC - which provide a very special experience for the children - it is imperative that the shows do not make a loss.
If I have a concern or complaint, what should I do?
We very rarely have the need to address major complaints or problems, but we understand that there will always be niggling things that upset or annoy parents, and we'd rather hear it from you than on the grapevine. It is impossible to run a Performing Arts school with 200 families and not upset some people some of the time, although we do our best to keep people happy. Our priority though is that all our children have a positive experience with us and this priority will always take precedent over one unhappy mum or another, which we know from experience is ultimately what our children's parents expect of us.
Please address any issues to us rather than to each other so we can resolve them, and please do not approach the dance tutor between classes as there is usually another class due to start. If you wish to speak directly to the tutor this can be arranged by first contacting the TSPA office to begin the conversation. We pride ourselves on having good relationships with our parents and many have been happy customers for a good many years. We hope and strive that this will continue to be the case.