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Legal Responsibilities and Duty of Care: What You Should Know as a Tutor

Educating the next generation of young people is a very important role to fulfill. A decent education allows our children to pick up the knowledge and skills needed to succeed as they move through life. Alongside teachers employed in schools, tutors who offer private lessons and additional coaching are crucial. That is certainly true in the USA, where tutors help children learn a musical instrument or get extra coaching in essential subjects like math.

If you plan to become a tutor, there will be certain things to have in place first. The most important is a relevant qualification that shows you have the expertise needed to teach a subject. It is also vital to know what legal responsibilities you have concerning students and what your duty of care is to them. 

But what are the most common legal responsibilities tutors might have?

Getting the right insurance in place 

When it comes to legal responsibilities, making sure you take out the right kind of insurance is vital. It is a legal necessity in most US states, but it is a good idea to protect your business even if that is not the case. There are a couple of essential policies for teachers and tutors that are definitely worth taking out, in the form of general and professional liability insurance. 

Next Insurance makes it even easier to get the cover you need by combining these two policies into one overall cover plan – that saves you the hassle of sorting out both individually. As well as looking at the qualities any good tutor must have, parents will look for one who has insurance in place. That means taking out the right insurance can attract more clients.

But what do these two kinds of insurance cover? 

General and professional liability cover

General liability is the basic type of cover you could take out as a tutor. In simple terms, it protects you and your business against unforeseen accidents students suffer while being taught by you. It can include cover against a student being physically hurt at your lesson, emotional trauma they may claim to have suffered from, or damage to their property. As the costs of these situations can be high if proven, insurance prevents your business from being sunk by a large financial settlement.

Professional liability is an extra layer of security for tutors to rely upon. This is more centered on providing cover for any professional mistakes you make while teaching or claims that you did not fulfill your commitments as promised. 

What other legal responsibilities should you know about? 

While getting the right insurance in place is the principal legal responsibility for many tutors, it is not the only one. Another is carrying out your legal duty of care responsibilities to any students. That means that you agree to look after them properly while teaching them, not do anything that could harm them, and act in their best interests at all times. Naturally, a duty of care also means that you should not act in any way that could be deemed inappropriate when alone with a student or class. 

Tutors and teachers have a legal duty to supervise their students in the same manner any caring parent would. This area can also see other legal aspects of tutoring come into play. If, for example, a student were to tell you that they were being harmed somehow at home, you would then have a legal responsibility to inform the authorities. 

Tutors also have a legal responsibility to protect the privacy of students and their personal data. Both state and federal law in the USA requires this. In practice, this means that revealing information related to students must be agreed by the parents first.

The last major legality around tutoring lies in the tricky issue of discipline. While you are allowed to discipline students under your charge, the duty of care and legal standards dictate that it should be done proportionately. The exact nature of what you can do to discipline students will vary from state to state, so remember to check this first before you start tutoring. 

Make sure you are informed before tutoring

Deciding to become a tutor is a big step and will see you take up a position of real trust. Both the parents and students themselves will be looking for you to operate within the law and with duty of care being paramount. It is, therefore, essential to find out what this all involves. If you need a helping hand, hopefully, the above has given you a good starting point. 

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