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Dance class Fee's upfront...

(25 Posts)
SantanaBinLorry Wed 09-Mar-16 08:48:49

Our 7yr old started breakdance classes in September, he's doing very well and its the only class/extra curricular activity has has ever.stuck at.

We received a message from the woman who runs the 'dance school' in January to say the class was to be cancelled due to too few pupils (admittedly, it was a small class 3-4 sometimes 5)
There was another class on another day/time that he was welcome to join. The problem for us is that we cant get to the new class by public transport and we dont have a car.
I some how managed to work budgeting magic, worked out a way for us to hire a car for the dates that we need to get him to class. Sacrifices by the whole family have been made to afford this. And it has actually been really complicated to organise. But most importantly, our son gets to go to his class that he loves.

Last night all pupil/parents of the school asking for all fee's til the end of the hear are paid up front this coming Saturday...shock March-June.
We normally pay monthly, 35€, at the begining of the month (son was poorly last week and missed class, but would have taken his March fee's had he attended)
On top of this we have to book and pay for tickets for the annual 'Spectacalar'. This is happening in 6 weeks time.
Also, if we want photos and video of show then we have to reserve and pay for that upfront too.
We have already paid 30euros for his costume...we had to pay this before Christmas.

My gripe isnt the cost of everything. I understand the 'costs' of running classes, putting on a show etc.
But I do have a problem with it being asked for upfront. This is a fairly established school, five years plus. It just seems to me to be awfully bad business.

AIBU to be super annoyed and a little upset....
Firstly, that the original class was cancelled (it was a new class, and running costs could/should have been covered by one of the many other busier classes. Judging by shows that we have seen, there are at least 100 pupils across all the classes. There are adult classes as well Zumba etc.
Secondly, such short notice for quite a large amount of money. For my son to continue and for the family to see the show, foto/video pack (I know we dont need this) We'll have to find 183euros by Saturday.
Thirdly, number two is impossible sad

Im gutted that we might have to pull son out all together, him missing out on class and the show sad At least we'll save the car hire money! sad And I dont think we'll be able to enrol him fo next year if the class is not local enough.

SantanaBinLorry Wed 09-Mar-16 08:49:55

correction: letter/doc arrived night before last. just took me a while to translate as it was an un-copiable document!?

19lottie82 Wed 09-Mar-16 08:54:45

Can you speak to the class teacher and see if you can pay in instalments?

Also, I don't mean to sound down heartened but the OP aside, my DSDs both did dance classes for years and the spiralling costs are unbelievable. If you're really stretched at the moment then I suggest you maybe have a chat to some of the other parents to see what their average spends are per month / year, as they soon add up for exam / lesson / costumes / comp fees. One of my DSD's still does dancing and we have spent £1300 since October! There's always texts asking for more money and I fee this is the norm from most dance schools, when I speak to other parents.

19lottie82 Wed 09-Mar-16 08:56:12

PS we don't pay fees upfront, but everything else usually needs to be paid in advance.

Balletgirlmum Wed 09-Mar-16 09:02:43

It is standard for fees to be paid termly although some schools will accept monthly instalments.

This helps prevent situations like happened before where a class has to be cancelled mid term if people drop out. Venue hire often has to be paid up front olys insurances & loads of other costs.

I recently gave up running drama classes as it was just not financially viable with rising costs.

When my daughter was at a local dance school she generally had one or two trial lessons first then we paid upfront in either termly or 10 week blocks.

ZanyMobster Wed 09-Mar-16 09:09:00

I would expect to pay up front for the month or term and to pay if they don't attend a class. That is perfectly normal at any class I attended as a child and how it works for most activities my DCs attend (was dance at one point but now various sports). I have to pay for a full season of football, rugby and cricket in advance then tennis is termly in advance. It is very difficult but I understand why they need to do this.

Like a pp has said dancing is mega expensive for all the extra, even 25 years ago my exams were nearly £30 plus all the extras that go with them.

SantanaBinLorry Wed 09-Mar-16 09:11:01

'll message the owner (lannguage barrier) and ask. But the tone of the letter was quite clear, no get-aroundies. Lots of capital shouting and ¡¡¡!!!.

We were quite prepared to spend up to 500e for the year. Classes, show, transport etc. It was all originally do-able.
No way costs would have gotten as high as 1000+ We couldnt have allowed that on pocket and principal smile No exams and a couple of beanie hats a year.
We thought we had gotten of lightly with the laid back approach here. Ive read the Dance.School angst threads before grin

Other parents are scarce. Kid usually leave class alone or hang around with older kids/siblings.

Balletgirlmum Wed 09-Mar-16 09:14:13

It sounds like people have been messing the dance school around.

SantanaBinLorry Wed 09-Mar-16 09:20:02

Im not complaining about the actual price of it all. I have an arts back ground and understand how the cost add up. I actually though the price was good, and believe tutors, photographers, film makers, everyone involved gets a professional fee. With insurance, venue hire etc... it costs what its costs. No dispute there.
Paying a semester up front, fine if previously agreed.
No refund for missed class, fine, thats just the way it goes.

But, changing agreement and throwing in extra costs really short notice is proper rubbish, and un-professional.

SantanaBinLorry Wed 09-Mar-16 09:26:44

Oh, and we cant afford it so ive got the grumps angry grin

Will definitely message her, hopefully she will be sympathetic. Especially with cancelling first class... she originally offered to help find some shared transport, but never got back to me.

Its such a shame, even she said our son was muy talantoso.

Seeline Wed 09-Mar-16 09:27:24

I'm not sure that the school is being that unfair TBH.
Small classes will not break even, and I don't think you can reasonably expect 'busier classes' to cover the shortfall. I don't think they make that much profit on a class. Also, from a practical point of view, with only 3-4 in a class it is hard to choreograph anything reasonable, or do fun stuff during lessons, especially if one or two are missing through illness etc. An alternative was offered - it wasn't the school's fault that it was difficult for you to manage. was a refund offered if you couldn't have managed it. Presumably there are other schools around.
In terms of fees - March to June is equivalent to 1 terms fees. We pay a term at a time at our dance school. And have to give 1/2 term notice of children want to leave, or else have to pay another 1/2 terms fees.

shebird Wed 09-Mar-16 09:52:12

Termly fees are the norm for dance and many other activities. Dance is notorious for spiralling fees and the expectation that you will just pay up and show up at competitions or shows with no regard for your personal circumstances.

Maybe ask the dance teacher if you can come to some agreement due to the short notice. Alternatively see if there are other classes in the area that require less financial and personal commitment.

BarbarianMum Wed 09-Mar-16 10:00:21

IME paying upfront in this way is entirely typical. However, also IME dance schools will be flexible. Also IME it is possible to book photos/DVDS and even buy tickets right up to the day of the show (even if the best seats have gone). So I'd concentrate on paying the class fees for now and worry about the rest later.

Scholes34 Wed 09-Mar-16 10:09:17

Have you tried looking for other classes in the area? - it sounds like you've just gone along with the suggestion made by the previous teacher. Would a taxi be cheaper than car hire?

We've always paid up front for whatever activity the DC have done - dance, music lessons, sport, scouts - though having been on the organising side in Scouting, we would certainly not want people to be put off by having to pay up front and would be pleased to make alternative arrangements.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 09-Mar-16 10:15:06

I'm completely missing the point I know but, where do you live that hiring a car to get to a class is cheaper than a taxi from the nearest train station or bus stop? confused

SantanaBinLorry Wed 09-Mar-16 10:25:12

No other classes in the area. She's got a fairly large catchment.
And tickets are defiantly pay upfront (timed slot) on Saturday.

Laughing at Breakdancing needing more people for interesting choreography grin B'boying is very much a solo pursuit (hence why it suits our son soooo much) Wooping from the side circle is as co-ordinated as it gets.
And Small classes will not break even, and I don't think you can reasonably expect 'busier classes' to cover the shortfall. Isn't that basic business...? Arts or eggs, somethings are more profitable/some make losses?

Realistically, I think We can cover tickets for family x3 and March fees.
We'll for go the 'media pack' this time.
And offer monthly fees up front til the end of term.

Oh, we also paid yearly insurance upfront at begining of year (not disputing) So, class costs dont actually cover this.

SantanaBinLorry Wed 09-Mar-16 10:30:44

Santas Spanish Island. Crap/zero buses. Beleive me, it has NOT been easy to sort the whole Car Hire ball ache!!!
The locals think we are Loco for not owning a car grin

Witchend Wed 09-Mar-16 11:36:00

That would be standard round here for most classes. I'm getting sets of invoices for my dc at present for next term. Most need paying within a fortnight. A few ask you to pay on the first day of term, but most want it the term before so they can plan, invite people off waiting lists and rearrange classes if more/less people.

In all honesty when dd1 was younger there were lots of these places you paid on the week when you turned up and people really took the micky. There was one class that had a huge waiting list, and in the summer term when sunny there were never more than 6 of us there and there were 40 on the list. Because you only paid when you came the organisers had to take a huge loss.
When the next term came you can guess who was most vocal when they said you paid half termly!

ZanyMobster Wed 09-Mar-16 12:32:19

Changing the agreement at short notice is unfair definitely.

101handbags Wed 09-Mar-16 13:26:08

My mum is a dancing teacher and has been for over 40 years. She has to ask for the termly fees upfront, it is her job and not a charity. She has to pay to hire the hall, she has to pay for insurance, a licence to pay for the music she plays, has to pay for equipment, music etc. and she has to make a (small) profit on top for herself - sometimes she barely breaks even but she loves doing it. Some ladies have other commitments and cannot come each week (maybe miss 2 or 3 classes a term). However, that is their choice.

SantanaBinLorry Wed 09-Mar-16 13:34:20

Blimey, again, Its the last minute changes Ive got a problem with. I could afford it if it was in installments as agreed in September. I cant afford it all in one go with less than a.weeks notice.

I have acknowledged the costs of running the whole shabang, Ive been out the game a while but arts admin was my thing for a while. its not completely alien to me. Also, with this schools catchment and estimated pupils my fag packet maths tells me if its running at a lose, they are doing something seriously wrong!

Pinkheart5915 Wed 09-Mar-16 13:38:29

I own a dance studio and do teach when not on maternity leave.

I ask for the fees upfront, however if parent approach and say they can only do instalments for X&Y reason I generally allow it.

It might be worth having a word with the dance studio??

CallMeExhausted Wed 09-Mar-16 13:39:21

All of the activities my DCs participate in require fees to be paid upfront as a standard rule. With that said, I don't know of a single one that would exclude a child if they were clearly enjoying it and not disruptive, just because their parents couldn't afford to pay upfront.

This year, we needed to defer payment for one sport and I went to the organisers and explained. They were most accommodating.

It can't hurt to ask.

SantanaBinLorry Wed 09-Mar-16 13:42:42

Ive messaged, waiting to hear back.

CallMeExhausted Wed 09-Mar-16 14:18:04

I hope it goes well for you.

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