Cash points

15th November 2002 at 00:00
Home tuition is not without its hazards, especially if there's an accident. Sean Coughlan reports

A by-product of the obsession with tests and targets in schools has been the growth in home tutoring. This might seem an uncomplicated arrangement, with a pupil getting extra help and the teacher making a little extra money.

But another phenomenon is the growth of a compensation culture, where people are quick to sue if anything untoward happens to them. Teachers who are giving home lessons should think about the complications if a pupil has an accident.

Teachers who are teaching in school are covered by "public liability" insurance - if someone has an accident in the classroom, the teacher is not liable for compensation.

But if an accident happens to a pupil who is in the teacher's house for private tuition, the teacher could be liable - and it's more than possible that home insurance won't provide cover.

Endsleigh Insurance, which provides insurance for the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, is relaunching its home insurance policies to cover this gap. Although private tuition can be informal, spokesman Stuart Wartalski says it is defined as a business activity, and any resulting claims will be excluded from regular home insurance. In practice, he says, claims for losses to property, such as damage by a private tuition pupil, have been considered sympathetically.

But with liability for accidents, many teachers will not be covered. And when you consider that teachers' public liability cover is typically about pound;2 million, you can see the size of the risk anticipated by insurers.

It's not only the pupils who could be involved in a claim. Mr Wartalski says it is conceivable that teachers could be held responsible if anything happened to parents or siblings collecting children from their home.

There are insurers which offer cover for home tuition. For instance, Eagle Star provides cover with home insurance, on condition that this is only a sideline, rather than a teacher's main source of income.

But if you're giving lessons at home, check your insurer's views on private tutoring.

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