Tribunal ruling potentially affecting thousands of music teachers


Employment rights for thousands of peripatetic music teachers could be about to change dramatically across the UK. This is an important read for any MI Retailers who work with music teachers in their stores…

The ruling means the claimant is afforded certain rights and protections such as holiday pay, national minimum wage and whistleblower protections and protection from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. It follows significant rulings in the appeal courts which have had lots of Press coverage, such as in the case of Uber drivers.

The ruling handed down by Employment Judge Moor at the East London Hearing Centre opens the way for peripatetic teachers nationwide to be awarded the same rights and protections if they are engaged by a school to provide music tuition during the school day, even if the lessons are paid for directly by the parents…

Mugni Islam-Choudhury, a barrister at No5 Barristers’ Chambers, successfully argued that a music teacher employed to provide services to pupils and parents was a worker, rather than self-employed. The teacher was “very much integrated” into their school, being paid a rate set by the school and formed part of the music department’s ‘offering’ to students. The teacher had access to school facilities, school email and an ID card.

The barrister said the case could have significant implications for other teachers across the UK who are engaged to provide music tuition during the school day. This would hold true even if parents technically pay for the lessons.

“Schools across the country offer music lessons to pupils on the basis that the fee is paid privately to the tutor, but the service is facilitated by the school which has engaged the teacher,” he said.

“This [ruling] will allow them to receive holiday pay, but importantly will give them protection as whistle-blowers should they ever have cause to raise any safeguarding issues.

He added that everyone in school environments has a duty to raise safeguarding issues if there is a genuine concern – but if the person raising the issue is not recognised as a worker there is “no protection against their contracts being terminated at the whim of the school”.

“Contracts for these positions generally say the tutor is self-employed, but we successfully argued that just because that is what the contact says does not mean that they are not workers,” the lawyer added.