Easing the lockdown: Private teaching

Many private teacher members have asked us whether they can return to physical face-to-face teaching.

We recommend that members involved in private teaching who have moved their teaching practice online continue to operate in this way until further notice.


We understand that the Department for Education (DfE) is seeking changes to coronavirus regulations which would allow activities in out-of-school settings (including private face-to-face instrumental tuition) to resume from 4 July in England.

We will update members as soon as possible. In the meantime please see our health and safety and risk assessment guidance.

Changes announced by the Prime Minister on 23 June included the following:

Social distancing

The two metre social distancing rule in England will be changed to a ‘one metre plus’ policy from 4 July. This means people are encouraged to maintain two metres apart ‘wherever feasible and mitigating the risks at one metre where not’, by taking precautions to reduce the risk of transmission.

It is important to emphasise that the guidance is still that two metres should be observed. It is not strictly accurate to say that the social distancing rules has reduced to one metre apart. It is worth noting what the Prime Minister said in his speech:

'Where it is possible to keep two metres apart people should.

But where it is not, we will advise people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’, meaning they should remain one metre apart, while taking mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission.

We are today publishing guidance on how businesses can reduce the risk by taking certain steps to protect workers and customers.

Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, is quoted as saying at the press conference announcing the measures on 23 June that ‘the advice on two metres remains’ and that 'one metre plus' is for when two metres is not possible.

Northern Ireland

Social distancing was reduced from two metres to one metre in Northern Ireland on 29 June, with some restrictions. The Stormont Executive agreed that people should keep two metres distance where possible, but can come within no less than one metre where appropriate mitigations can be made.

Scotland and Wales

Please note the social distancing advice for Scotland and Wales has not changed. We will update this page as advice changes.


We recommend that members involved in private teaching aim to fulfil the obligations above, and that if they have moved their teaching practice online, that they continue to do so until further notice.

ISM members can seek advice from our legal team on their personal situation by contacting [email protected].


We have been advised that our public liability insurance (PLI) for members will continue to operate if members follow government guidelines.

Next steps

We will update members as new information emerges. In the meantime please see our health and safety and risk assessment guidance.

We are aware of risks relating to activities such as singing and to specific instruments including brass and woodwind. There is an increasing body of research into these areas although the provisional conclusions from such studies do not yet provide an agreed understanding of risk and appropriate mitigating measures. We will continue to review this area and update members accordingly.

Updated: 3 July 2020